Diageo-affiliated Ketel One has launched a range of 30% ABV vodkas made with botanical ingredients, responding to U.S. consumer demand for healthier, lower alcohol drinks, FoodBev Media reports.
The vodkas come in three flavors: peach & orange blossom, cucumber & mint and grapefruit & rose. They are made with naturally infused fruits and botanicals, contain no added sugars, artificial flavors or sweeteners and have 73 calories per serving.
Apart from appealing to those seeking to cut back on alcohol, the vodkas aim to target “the progressive values of today’s conscious consumers” who care about what they put in their bodies, the company said.
Drinks manufacturers are working to meet demand for beverages that help people consume less alcohol, including producing low- and no-alcohol beers, while spirits makers also have worked to improve the health profile of their portfolios.
Diageo in particular acquired a minority stake in U.K.-based non-alcoholic spirits producer Seedlip in 2016 through its accelerator Distill Ventures. It also tapped in to the dairy-free trend last year with an almond milk version of its Bailey’s liqueur.
Alcohol is widely seen as an indulgent product, meaning that consumers do not necessarily consider health when buying alcoholic drinks. However, there are signs that attitudes toward alcohol are shifting. Previously, non-alcoholic beer had failed to take off, but demand has increased as consumers have become more concerned about how alcohol affects health. The global market for this segment jumped 19% to $9.96 billion in 2015 from $8.37 billion in 2010, according to data from Euromonitor.
AB InBev's focus on health and wellness has lead the world's largest beer manufacturer to commit to having 20% of its sales volume coming from its low- or no-alcohol portfolio by 2025. Other brewers have introduced similar products.
Whether desire for lower alcohol beverages can be translated into the spirits category remains to be seen, but drinkers in other sectors seem to be embracing the health trend. According to Nielsen research from 2016, 72% of beer drinkers said it’s important to read nutritional labels, for example.
Meanwhile, Campbell's Culinary & Baking Institute named botanical flavors as a major trend to watch in 2018, aligning with consumer demand for natural, clean label ingredients. These ingredients could be an easy way for spirits makers to psoition themselves as natural, health-focused and on-trend in the crowded alcohol category.