Half of all new ready-to-drink beverages have an ABV of 5% or more

The ready-to-drink (RTD) category continues to grow, with more brands introducing products with higher ABV, according to new IWSR research.

Data from the IWSR’s Innovation Tracker shows that RTD product launches increasingly rely on super premium pricing and greater diversity in alcohol content.

RTD brands are also focusing on packaging with less plastic and moving away from direct health claims as the category matures.

This is true in major RTD markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, UK and USA. These 10 markets represent 85% of global RTD consumption.

Brandy Rand, COO Americas at IWSR, said, “The ability to meet consumer needs is part of the reason for the rapid rise of RTDs.”

The category is growing rapidly in countries like China, Canada, and the United States, which is the largest RTD market in the world.

IWSR research found that around half of all new RTDs launched in the second half of 2021 had an alcohol content of 5% or more.

This trend has been led by China, the United States and Australia; regions that saw the highest percentage change in new launch market share with an ABV greater than 7.5%.

The Chinese market may focus on products with high alcohol content, but a ban on CBD products could be considered in Hong Kong, as the government adopts a “zero tolerance” policy on cannabis .

Hong Kong authorities have proposed banning CBD products within the year, with the Security Bureau submitting a document to that effect to the Legislative Council in June.

However, retailers argue they should be allowed to continue selling CBD products, including beverages, provided they have been verified for safe use.

The trend towards high-alcohol ready-to-drink beverages is not affecting all markets. Other countries like Germany and Japan are seeing a decrease in new innovations with higher ABVs.

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