By Andrew Starke

In the first quarter of 2006 just two percent of Australian beer drinkers had consumed a low-carb beer but new analysis from Roy Morgan Research shows a very different result in 2010.

A quarter of all beer drinkers consumed a low-carb beer within a four week period this year.

Although the growth trend shows signs of slowing, this result is reflective of a busy time for beer manufacturers and marketers over the past few years.

Roy Morgan found that the low-carb beer drinker is much more likely than total beer drinkers to be under the age of 35 (51 percent compared to 33 percent of total beer drinkers).

They are more likely to be AB Quintiles and ‘Big Spenders’ – with a high discretionary spend and either studying at university or tertiary qualified.

They are also more likely to be in paid employment than total beer drinkers, and single – living in shared households or with their parents.

In terms of beer consumption, the low carb beer drinker is more likely to have consumed premium or imported beer rather than mid-strength or light in the past four weeks.

When looking at other alcohol categories, low-carb beer drinkers are more likely to have consumed wine, spirit, RTDs and cider than total beer drinkers.

Low carb beer drinkers are also more likely to have undertaken some form of exercise in the past three months and the frequency of this exercise is also greater than that of total beer drinkers.

In terms of their food and beverage preferences, this group is more likely to buy diet drinks and limit fattening foods in their diets. They will however, buy energy drinks.

The low-carb beer drinker is definitely out and about more than the average beer drinker – 26 percent have been to a nightclub / disco in the past three months and 60 percent have been to a hotel / pub.

This presents a great opportunity to leverage low-carb beer on premise.

“It has been somewhat problematic for a beer that has a ‘healthy’ functional premise at its core to be accepted by mainstream drinkers,” said Roy Morgan Research account director, Trish Kelliher.

“The success of this current cohort of low-carb brands is evidence that with the right marketing and positioning, as well as a good full-bodied taste, drinkers will embrace a product that has a healthier profile. This should provide encouragement for further innovation in this category to maintain relevance and stimulate sales.”

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The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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