Consumer research snapshot: Gen Z’s health-conscious lifestyle drives beverage innovation

Gen Z outpaced all other generations for reducing alcohol consumption and looking for low-sugar or low-calorie options.
Elizabeth Christenson
Editor, Retail Leader
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Compared to previous generations, Gen Zers — typically considered those born in 1997-2012— are more health conscious and interested in new experiences. In turn, Gen Z consumers of legal drinking age have shifted new product development in the alcohol industry toward low- and non-alcohol beverages along with alternative alcohol beverages with novel flavors, Statista reported.

Gen Z respondents of legal drinking age in the U.S. were the most likely to choose non-alcohol beverages; 38% of Gen Z said they would non-alcohol drinks in place of alcohol beverages in 2022, Drizly reported. In contrast, only 8% of baby boomers stated that they had replaced at least some traditional drinks with non-alcohol versions.

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When asked why they were choosing more non-alcohol beverages, Gen Z ranked:

  • Cutting back on alcohol consumption – 54%.
  • Looking for a low-sugar or low-calorie option — 38%.
  • Healthier lifestyle — 41%.
  • More availability for non-alcohol beverages beer, wine and spirits — 32%.
  • Like the taste — 27%.
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Gen Z outpaced all other generations for cutting back on alcohol consumption and looking for low-sugar or low-calorie options.

Still, Gen Z has a taste for red wine, and 38% of Gen Zers anticipated buying more red wine in 2022 compared to the previous year. The nation’s youngest legal drinkers cited red wine as the drink they most anticipate buying more of this year, topping a list that included tequila and hard seltzer. Gen Z is also more inclined to spend more on premium alcohol for certain occasions than than their older cohorts. Those reasons included: 

  • Date nights — 50%. 
  • Just because — 45%. 
  • Casual nights at home — 39%.
  • Birthdays — 62%.

In each instance, Gen Z often significantly outpaced millennials’, Gen X and baby boomers’ inclinations to splurge in casual settings. The lower cost of indulging at home compared to on premise — and Gen Z’s familiarity with ordering online for delivery — may at least partially explain this, Drizly said.