28 January 2021
A recent study shows Kiwis are embracing global trends supporting responsible drinking behaviours and attitudes.
“The industry research found 40% of Kiwis now drink low-alcohol beverages,” says NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) Executive Director, Bridget MacDonald.
“Twenty-two per cent of people who said they drink low alcohol beverages said the reason was that they preferred a low-alcohol drink – and, it’s women and people in the 18-40 or 61+ year age groups who are more likely to prefer low alcohol drinks,” says Bridget.
“Health and wellbeing was the main reason for 18% of respondents to choose low alcohol drinks, 17% said it was because they were driving, and 12% to be social. Kiwis are making positive changes in their attitudes and behaviours toward alcohol. We are becoming more aware of ‘what’ we are drinking and the choices available to us, such as no- and low-alcohol options,” says Bridget.
“The findings are also in line with global trends that influence ‘how’ we are drinking, for example, the move to premiumisation, with 62% saying they had a premium drink in the past year. Premiumisation is about choosing a quality drink that may cost a little more, such as a craft beer, a fine wine, cocktail or a premium spirit or liqueur, and then taking a ‘sip and savour’ approach to enjoy the flavours and the experience of the drink in a slow and relaxed way,” says Bridget.
A discerning palate was the main reason for choosing a more expensive or premium drink, with 42% saying it was for taste. Forty per cent said it was for a special occasion, and 16% for a quality drink. While 47% said they consumed a premium drink at the same speed as a regular drink, it was pleasing to see 42% said they drank a premium drink slower – only 3% said they drank it faster.
“Kiwis are making better decisions around alcohol based on their personal circumstances and lifestyle. As a result, hazardous drinking is declining, fewer younger people are drinking, and our consumption is decreasing and below the OECD average,” Bridget says.
In addition to encouraging people to consider the range of no and low alcohol options available to them, the industry supports educational programmes and promotional activities that promote moderate and safe consumption of alcohol, including cheers.org.nz and alcoholandme.org.nz that help people to understand what a standard drink is and how to make better drinking decisions.
“By taking time to think about ‘what’ and ‘how’ we are drinking we can make better decisions around alcohol,” Bridget says.
Tips for keeping safe and social this summer
• A good rule of thumb is ‘Go no, low or slow’. It’s okay to choose no or low alcohol drinks. If you choose to drink, pace yourself and enjoy your drink slowly.
• Know what a standard drink looks like and keep an eye on how many you are drinking.
• Eat when you are drinking.
• Drink water in between drinks to stay hydrated.
• Have a plan to get home safely. Leave the car at home.
• Support others to stay safe and social. Look out for your friends or family.
• If you’re hosting, make sure there’s plenty of food, no- and low-alcohol options, and water available.
• If you are out and about be sure to use the NZ COVID tracer app.
Need more information?
• Ministry of Health/HPA Guidelines: Low-risk alcohol drinking advice to reduce your long-term health risks by drinking no more than:
– Two standard drinks a day for women and no more than 10 standard drinks a week,
– Three standard drinks a day for men and no more than 15 standard drinks a week,
AND have at least two alcohol-free days every week.
Call the Alcohol Drug Helpline on 0800 787 797, free txt 8681, or visit alcoholdrughelp.org.nz.
NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, New Zealander’s attitudes to alcohol research, December 2020, poll of 1000 New Zealanders undertaken by Curia Market Research – Preliminary findings:
No- and low-alcohol consumption: NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, New Zealander’s attitudes to alcohol research, December 2020, poll of 1000 New Zealanders: 40% of respondents say they drink low-alcohol beverages; 25% say they are drinking the same amount of low-alcohol beverages as a year ago, and 8% drinking more and 8% less than a year ago. The most common reasons for drinking low alcohol beverages were:
o 22% preferred low alcohol beverages (Of those, 29% of women said they prefer low-alcohol beverages, as did 25% of people aged 18-40 years and 28% of people aged 61+ years).
o 18% for health and wellbeing (of those 23% of women said it was for health and wellbeing reasons).
o 17% because they were driving (24% of men said this was why they drank low-alcohol beverages).
o 12% said it was to be social.
o 6% it was offered.
o 5% to avoid being intoxicated.
o 5% for a lower calorie drink.
Premiumisation: NZ Alcohol Beverages Council, New Zealander’s attitudes to alcohol research, December 2020, poll of 1000 New Zealanders:
o 62% had a premium drink in the past 6 months and 38% did not.
o Of those who had a premium drink, 30% had liqueur or quality spirits, 30% quality/premium wine, 23% craft beer, and 20% a cocktail.
o Men were more likely to have a craft beer than women (33% men said they had a craft beer, compared to 13% women). People aged 41-60 years more likely to choose a spirit or premium wine.
o Younger people (18-40 years) tend to choose premium drinks for special occasions, whereas 41-60 and 60+ years choose for taste.
o 47% said they consumed a premium drink at the same speed as a regular drink, 42% said they drank a premium drink slower, and 3% said they drank it faster.
o 45% of men said they drank a premium drink slower. 38% of women said they drank it slower.
o 50% of 18-40 years said they drank it slower, compared to 37% of 41-60 years and 41% 61+ years.
Decreasing alcohol consumption: StatsNZ Infoshare, Alcohol available for consumption to Sept 2020 (published November 2020),
http://archive.stats.govt.nz/infoshare/. Data shows 8.711 litres per head of population (15 years and older) in 2020, and 9.598 litres in 2010, resulting in a 9.2% decrease. And, 10.186 litres in 1990, resulting in a 14.5% decrease. The per head of population (15 years and older) is the measure used by the OECD. The data going back to 1986 11.326 to 8.711% in 2020 is a 23% decrease. See graph 1 below.
NZ consumption below OECD average: OECD Alcohol Consumption, https://data.oecd.org/healthrisk/alcohol-consumption.htm. Alcohol consumption is defined as annual sales of pure alcohol in litres per person aged 15 years and older. The OECD average consumption is 8.9 litres/capita (aged 15 and over). New Zealand is at 8.8 litres/capita. Source: OECD Health Statistics, 2019. New Zealand figures as at 2018.