Food & Drink

Volume sales of alcohol increased by 25% during the peak of the pandemic

Volume sales of alcohol increased by 25% during the peak of the pandemic, according to a new report.

The Monitoring Alcohol Consumption and Harm During the COVID-19 Pandemic Report by Public Health England was released this month and aimed to understand how patterns of alcohol consumption and harm changed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report stated that data from a consumer purchasing panel that measures off-trade volume sales of alcohol shows that between 2019 and 2020 (before and during the pandemic), volume sales increased by 25%.

It added that this increase was consistent and sustained for most of 2020.

The report noted that an increase in purchases was seen for all types of alcohol including beer, cider, wine and spirits.

The study took into account the different consumer groups and studied a sample of different buyers to investigate their alcohol habits.

The study looked at the booze they purchased in the first two years before lockdown and compared it with the 2019 and 2020 periods before and during the pandemic.

Of the subsample who purchased the most quantities of strong drink before the pandemic, their total purchased jumped by 14.3 per cent to 5.3 million litres of alcohol.

Ravi Kotecha of popular online retailer Drinks Supermarket UK said: “We did see a huge uplift in alcohol sales, but we also saw a big demand for sales in soft drinks including bottled water as we’re a well-stocked drinks company.

“Whilst our online direct-to-consumer sales saw massive increases, our trade sales diminished, with restaurants, bars, and hotels either shut or not delivering alcohol.

“In terms of trends, we saw consumers purchasing more premium products as well as ingredients to replicate well-known cocktails.

“No doubt, consumers, whilst being lockdown, were treating themselves as they weren’t able to go out.

“We also saw average spend go up by 25%, this is probably due to stocking up and over-ordering to avoid delivery delays.”

THE NUMBERS: Statistics from the Public Health England Report

Concluding the report, Public Health England said: “We will continue to monitor alcohol consumption and harm to investigate changes and develop appropriate policy and intervention responses.

“Tackling alcohol consumption and harm must be an essential part of the UK government’s COVID-19 recovery plan, given that tackling geographic health disparities are part of the government’s Build Back Better plans. Alcohol harm is a major risk factor driving these differences.

“Long-term, sustained action to prevent and reduce liver disease remains a priority for public health, given the stark trends in significantly higher alcoholic liver deaths, likely because of increased consumption among an already at-risk group of heavy drinkers.

“Before the pandemic, there were already increased alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths. The pandemic seems to have accelerated these trends.”

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