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Half of all alcohol companies market to Gen Z by using ‘healthy’ buzzwords

Low calorie, low sugar, and gluten-free labels on pre-mixed alcoholic beverages are attempts to lure health-conscious young people into drinking, a research team in Australia says after analysing the labels of 491 different beverages.  

If your health is declining, the first thing you’ll likely be told to do is to eat and drink healthier.

Alcohol, in that case, will likely be off the table as the overwhelming scientific consensus is that consuming alcoholic beverages is detrimental to human health. Young people know this, meaning many of them haven’t even started drinking regularly.

According to Forbes, Gen Z is drinking 20 percent less alcohol than millennials do. Millennials also drink less than previous generations due to ‘increased awareness of the dangers and effects of alcohol and the rise of health-consciousness as a lifestyle.’

Marketing teams around the world know this – including those working for the alcohol industry. As a result, they’re changing their tactics.

A study conducted by researchers at the Geroge Institute for Global Health aimed to find out how often the alcohol industry makes health claims in its marketing. Analysing the cans of 491 pre-mixed drinks found in major retailers in Australia, they identified several ‘health-focused’ catchphrases used.

The findings revealed

The nutritional claims commonly made on pre-mixed drinks are ‘natural’ (32 percent) usually referring to the flavours added, mention of calories (32 percent), sugar content (31 percent), gluten-free (23 percent), carb content (20 percent) and whether the drink is vegan (13 percent).

Hard seltzer brands are the worst offenders, with 96 percent of brands making 3-4 nutritional claims per can.

The chief executive of the Public Health Association of Australia said, ‘The notion of gluten-free and vegan friendly and all the rest of it, all these really are simply preposterous claims in the context of the consumption of alcohol when we know about all the other adverse effects of alcohol consumption.’

Sugar claims made on alcohol labels are now under review by the Food Standards of Australia New Zealand, with many organisations calling for ‘low sugar’ and ‘low carb’ phrases to be banned.

The bottom line

Any beverage that contains alcohol will do more harm than good to your body.

Just because a drink is labelled as having ‘low calories,’ doesn’t make it nutritionally superior to any other alcoholic beverage. One study rightly points out that most hard seltzers contain a similar level of alcohol content and calories as a light beer does.

In the end, drinking alcohol is a matter of preference. Some people get too full while drinking beer, while others simply enjoy a ‘fresher’ tasting mixed drink in a can for the sake of convenience.

But if your main goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, don’t be fooled by alcohol blended with ‘natural’ or ‘vegan’ ingredients. Laying off alcohol altogether is your best bet.