CUB launches vodka seltzer brand, Actual
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has launched a low-calorie, ready-to-drink (RTD) vodka brand, Actual Vodka Seltzer, in Australia. Shagun Sachdeva, Consumer Insights Analyst at GlobalData, states that consumers are gravitating towards lighter, less caloric, flavoured alcoholic drinks, creating opportunities for manufacturers to look at innovation.
“With increasing number of consumers questioning the role of sugar in weight management, [the] ‘better-for-you’ alcohol trend is graduating from niche status to a broader market sufficient in size and scope to interest the alcohol manufacturer,” said Sachdeva. “In line with this, CUB (a subsidiary of Asahi Group Holdings) launched Actual Vodka Seltzer to remain relevant to consumers by using insightful innovation.
“Recently, Japan-based Asahi Group Holdings took over CUB from Anheuser-Busch InBev for around US$11 billion. Asahi was on a continuous buying spree and seems to be betting big on its overseas businesses to offload the debt burden along with gradually escaping a slow-growing and ageing market in Japan.”
While many companies are struggling with growing uncertainty over the COVID-19 outbreak, Asahi is expanding its overseas reach by launching Actual Vodka Seltzer in Australia. “Similar to its Japanese rivals such as Kirin Holdings Co, Suntory Holdings Ltd and Sapporo Holdings Ltd, Asahi was facing a major down trend in the domestic market as youth with health-benefits knowledge are cutting down their drinking,” said Sachdeva.
GlobalData’s COVID-19 Week 5 (21–26 April) consumer survey revealed that around 37% of Australians expect tips on personal wellbeing from brands, and around 30% expect health credentials of product and effectiveness of ingredients from brands. The survey also found that 48% of Australians have bought alcoholic beverages from the middle to premium price range during the pandemic.
“CUB’s move into alcoholic seltzer seems to be well-timed and strategically planned. Following the onset of COVID-19, consumers have brought about a drastic change in their shopping behaviour. Consumers are opting for informed choices for themselves and letting the better-for-you aspect guide their purchase decision. The key attributes of Actual Vodka Seltzer — its cleaner image due to [a] 100% natural ingredients claim, low calorie content and low sugar levels — appeal to Australians who are conscious of what they are drinking,” said Sachdeva.
Of the 37% of Australians expecting tips on personal wellbeing from brands, 43% are millennials.
“CUB seems to be on right track with well-researched market where the company understands that millennials in the Asia Pacific are seeking lighter, more refreshing styles of alcoholic drinks, more than the regional average, so targeting these consumers with better-for-you attributes in alcoholic beverages is perhaps a profitable option,” said Sachdeva.
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