Britons to drink less alcohol, as health warnings rise

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wealth not health worries are leading more people to cut back on booze
Wealth not health worries are leading more people to cut back on booze

Related tags: Alcoholic beverage

More Britons are cutting back on booze, reveals new research from Mintel, as warnings about the dangers of even moderate alcohol consumption rise.

Nearly one in five (17%) British drinkers planned to reduce their consumption of alcohol over the next year, according to the research.

While the over-45s were the most likely age group to cut back on booze – accounting for 19% of those surveyed – up to 16% of 18–24 year olds also expected to reduce their alcohol intake.  

But it is worry about wealth, not health, that is the main factor driving fewer purchases. Among those planning to drink less, nearly half (45%) gave the main reason as saving money.

A further 41% cited lifestyle changes, while 38% said managing weight as part of a diet was their main reason for docking a drink.

Main reason for cutting back

Less than a quarter (22%) said the main reason for cutting back was medical advice, such as from their family doctor.

Nearly one in 10 said they had become more wary of driving after having a drink.

Despite both worries over wealth and health, about 80% of British adults drink alcohol. Well over two-thirds (72%) drink at least once a week and nearly half (47%) take a tipple more than once a week.

One in 10 (10%) drinkers admit to taking a sip every day, with those aged 55 and over being the most likely to be daily drinkers.

Wealth hazzard

“While consumers may have understood health problems associated with drinking for quite some time, it seems rising prices have finally prompted Brits to consider cutting back the amount of alcohol they are drinking.”

  • Chris Wisson, Mintel

Mintel’s senior drinks analyst Chris Wisson said: “While consumers may have understood health problems associated with drinking for quite some time, it seems rising prices have finally prompted Brits to consider cutting back the amount of alcohol they are drinking.”

Lifestyle factors – such as becoming parents – was also a key reason for reduced consumption.

Raise the risk of cancer

Meanwhile, researchers warned this week even light to moderate drinking – described as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men – could raise the risk of cancer.

After examining two large US studies, involving more than 100,000 adults, researchers writing in the British Medical Journal​ concluded light drinking elevated health risks, with the clearest link being for breast cancer.

In addition to breast cancer, alcohol consumption has long been linked to an increased risk of mouth, throat, gullet, bowel and liver cancer.

The research underlines the need for drinkers to judge accurately how much alcohol they consume and have some drink-free days every week.

Dr Richard Roope, of the Royal College of General Practicioners (GPs) highlighted the dangers of ignoring health warnings.

“GPs do not want to be killjoys,”​ Roope told BBC News. “But we want our patients to live long and healthy lives, and lifestyle habits, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, are very real risk factors in developing cancer that can't be ignored.”

More drinkers to drop booze

  • 17% of British drinkers planned to cut alcohol consumption over the next year
  • Over-45s were most likely to cut back on booze – with 19% planning to drink less
  • 16% of 18–24 year olds expected to drink less  
  • 45% of those planning to drink less said money was the motivator
  • 41% cited lifestyle changes, such as parenthood
  • 38% blamed weight management

Source: Mintel

Related topics: Markets

Related news

Follow us

Featured Events

View more

Products

View more

Webinars