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The boom of low-calorie, low-sugar and low-alcohol drinks in Spain

31 May 2019


Photo by Kaizen Nguyễn on Unsplash


Cecilia Ruiz, Manager Spain and Portugal, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board


To a new consumer comes new products.  As outlined in Bord Bia’s Consumer Lifestyle Trends, Health and Wellbeing will continue to be of huge importance in consumer’s lives. “I want to eat, drink and live to optimise my body’s systems, to feel better than well, today and tomorrow,” Consumers are changing and their health is more of a concern than ever. One of their major worries is sugar consumption.


In Bord Bia´s Periscope 2017, the statement “I always think of the calories in what I eat” applied to 74% of Spanish consumers; “I try to limit the amount of sugar that I eat” to 95% and “I always check the label for sugar content on foods before buying them” applied to 86% of consumers.


Beverage manufacturers are reformulating their drinks and looking for new, more natural sweeteners as well as looking at new vegetable and organic drinks.  They are also developing new smaller formats (to decrease the amount of sugar/calories per unit) to meet WHO recommendations of lowering the intake of added sugars to a maximum of 10% of the total energy intake (for an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out at about 6 teaspoons - or 25 grams - of sugar per day).


0 colourants, no preservatives, -40% less sugar and new tea/coffee flavoured premade waters and beverages, are undoubtedly what the market is currently demanding.


In line with these trends, Coca Cola has just announced that 55% of their sales in Iberia are from low-calorie drinks, represented in 125 out of a total of 280 references.  Currently 29% of Coca-Cola products sold in Iberia are in the juice, nectar, beverages with salts and minerals, tea and water categories.


Between 2015 and 2018 they have reduced the amount of sugar per litre in their beverages by 17.1%, as part of their “Avanzamos” SCR strategy.


This health, low-calorie, low sugar trend had also reached the alcoholic drink´s market.  Alcohol free beer already represents 15% of the total beer consumption in Spain and we are also witnessing new product launches for alcohol-free whiskey and gin weekly.