Eco-credentials more important than ever – IWSR research

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of drinks producers’ ethical credentials, attendees at Vinexpo Paris were told at a session that gave forecasts for the global beverage industry.

The trend is driven by younger drinkers, who are prioritising good environmental performance.

“Younger consumers have different thoughts on the world to older consumers,” said Thorsten Hartmann, director of custom analytics at IWSR, the drinks market analysis organisation.

“A company being ethical is really becoming very important, almost indispensable. You have to be responsible in everything – from packaging, right through to marketing and how your water is treated.”

The IWSR also highlighted the increasing demand for healthier drinks, including low and no alcohol, low sugar, low carbohydrates and “free from”. However, Hartmann said that health-conscious consumers were just as demanding about quality.

A company being ethical is really becoming very important, almost indispensable.

“They want to reduce their alcohol intake, but they don’t want to miss out on the experience. It has to be a fantastic product,” he said.

Soft drinks companies have yet to make significant inroads into the market for no-alcohol versions of traditional drinks, but Hartmann forecast that this would change.

Another trend is for the “premiumisation” of spirits. People are drinking less, but better.

In terms of “super premium” products, limited edition versions of well-known brands are “becoming a really important part of the market”, not least because their cachet rubs off on lower-end products.

Some super premium limited editions are destined to never be consumed, according to Hartmann, instead, being traded purely as investments.

In terms of the overall drinks market, IWSR’s global forecast for 2018 to 2023 suggests that wine will be the only major drinks category to see sales fall, with an annual 0.2% reduction forecast. Spirits sales are set to increase 0.6% a year, beer 0.7%, cider 2.0 percent, while ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages are set for a 5.6% annual sales increase.

Photo: Thorsten Hartmann, Director of Custom Analytics, IWSR.