Food trends: Cannabis, the new alcohol?

Generations Y and Z are increasingly turning their backs on alcohol and tobacco. Edible and drinkable cannabis products, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular. The GDI shows the most important products.
15 April, 2021 by
Food-Trends: Cannabis, der neue Alkohol?
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute

The following text is an excerpt from the «European Food Trends Report», that can be ordered on our website.

Alcohol is still the most popular drug worldwide, but it has many drawbacks: addiction, injuries to health, loss of control, increased potential for aggression, many calories, and a hangover on the day after the party. Alcohol is no longer as popular with young people from Generations Y and Z as with Generation Xers and Baby Boomers. In a global context, today’s under-35s consume considerably less alcohol than their predecessors did at the same age. They worry more about their health and fitness, prefer the high of marijuana over drunkenness, or search for alternatives that give them a feeling of well-being.

These developments lead to a higher demand for drinks without alcohol – from flavoured mineral
water and vitamin drinks to alcohol-free beer and sparkling wines to virgin cocktails and alcohol-free spirits. The big beverage brands are reacting to this shift by expanding their ranges to include drinks with little or no alcohol and attracting the new health-conscious consumers with wellness-focused branding.

The beverage giants are also investing in wellness drinks. For example, PepsiCo acquired KeVita in 2016 and bought SodaStream for 3.2 billion US dollars in December 2018. The beer giant Ab InBev made seven acquisitions or investments, including buying the energy drink brand Hi-Ball and investing in Canvas, the plant-based beverage company. At the beginning of 2019, Constellation Brands, the company behind the Corona beer brand and the largest beer importer in the US, invested 4 billion US dollars in the leading North American cannabis producer, Canopy Growth Co.

The Constellation Brands investment is a reaction to the changed consumer behaviour of the younger generations: beer consumption is falling, while cannabis consumption is growing. Cannabis is actually one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world. This development is supported by the ongoing decriminalisation of cannabis as a healing substance and stimulant as well as by the wellness boom. Cannabis not only gives its users a high, it can also be used for medicinal purposes or to improve one’s general well-being. Consumers often explain their switch from alcohol to cannabis as follows: cannabis is cheaper, has a relaxing effect and there is no need to worry in the morning about what you did the evening before. Unlike drinking too much alcohol, it does not cause a hangover.

The market for drinkables is gigantic. According to the «CBD Drinks Report» of Zenith Global, the US market for cannabis drinks was estimated at 86 million US dollars in 2018. It is expected to break through the billion-dollar barrier by 2023. The GDI shows the most important products.

Food Innovation Conference

Farms, Labs and Beyond: Fixing a Broken Food System

– This conference will take place online –

EFTR 2019 Cover Englisch

GDI-Study No. 47 / 2019

Languages: German, English

# Food
Share this post