Is Buying and Drinking Zero and Low Alcohol Beer a Higher Socio-Economic Phenomenon? Analysis of British Survey Data, 2015-2018 and Household Purchase Data 2015-2020

P. Anderson*, A. O'Donnell, D. Kokole, E.J. Llopis, E. Kaner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Web of Science)


Zero and low alcohol products, particularly beer, are gaining consideration as a method to reduce consumption of ethanol. We do not know if this approach is likely to increase or decrease health inequalities. The aim of the study was to determine if the purchase and consumption of zero and low alcohol beers differs by demographic and socio-economic characteristics of consumers. Based on British household purchase data from 79,411 households and on British survey data of more than 104,635 adult (18+) respondents, we estimated the likelihood of buying and drinking zero (ABV = 0.0%) and low alcohol (ABV > 0.0% and & LE; 3.5%) beer by a range of socio-demographic characteristics. We found that buying and consuming zero alcohol beer is much more likely to occur in younger age groups, in more affluent households, and in those with higher social grades, with gaps in buying zero alcohol beer between households in higher and lower social grades widening between 2015 and 2020. Buying and drinking low alcohol beer had less consistent relationships with socio-demographic characteristics, but was strongly driven by households that normally buy and drink the most alcohol. Common to many health-related behaviours, it seems that it is the more affluent that lead the way in choosing zero or low alcohol products. Whilst the increased availability of zero and low alcohol products might be a useful tool to reduce overall ethanol consumption in the more socially advantageous part of society, it may be less beneficial for the rest of the population. Other evidence-based alcohol policy measures that lessen health inequalities, need to go hand-in-hand with those promoting the uptake of zero and low alcohol beer.</p>
Original languageEnglish
Article number10347
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • no and low alcohol beer
  • social determinants
  • household purchases

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