The Interesting And Surprising Trends With Ethnicity And The Drinks Industry Within The UK

In the past few years, the UK drinks industry had dealt with a great deal of change and just when the markets settled, the industry is now having to cope with the uncertainty of even more tumultuous exchange rates and Brexit confusion. For alcoholic drinks, there has been an increase in duty tax, while soft drink manufacturers have to cope with the introduction and consolidation of a sugar tax.

Why Market Research Is So Important

In order for businesses to weather the storm of the challenges ahead, it is important that they completely understand the market they are catering for. In the beverages industry, market research is essential. However, so often it relays disappointing results, this is not because of the lack of results on interesting claims, it is often down to the sampling methods used and how the survey analyses population statistics.

In a recent study, it was suggested that teetotalism is on the rise. However, the research was only conducted in London, where 40% of the UK’s Muslims call home. It is common for Muslims to abstain from alcohol, which could have feasible led to skewed results for this teetotalism research. While London, where the research was conducted, has a population comprising of around 12% Muslims, the UK proportion as a whole is around 4.4%. This may very well mean that abstaining from alcohol isn’t on the rise and in fact, the results were skewed thanks to ethnicity, religion and naïve data sampling.

For thorough research to be conducted in the drinks market, it is important to realise that there are many factors influencing drink choices, from geography, age, religion, social identity, gender, economics and ethnicity.

Studies that have taken into account these factors, however, have provided some startling and interesting results, particularly when looking at ethnicity in the UK and drinking habits, read on for some of the key trends that have been spotted.

Three Key Trends Between Ethnicity In The UK and Drinking

In the UK, we are lucky to have such a culturally diverse and inclusive nation that welcomes and celebrates ethnicity but for drinks manufacturers and health and educational bodies to succeed understanding the differences between ethnicities is key.

  1. Most Minority Ethnic Groups Report Lower Levels Of Drinking

In many of the minority ethnic groups in the UK, you can see a trend of lower levels of drinking alcoholic beverages compared to those from white backgrounds. Non-white minority ethnic groups tend to have a higher level of abstinence, commonly linked to religion and cultures where the consumption of alcohol is forbidden.

Unfortunately, what data can’t show is the levels of problem drinking, as these issues are usually well-hidden in cultures where drinking is prohibited. The truly find out the nature of alcohol consumption in these sectors it is essential the research is conducted with complete discretion and exemplary confidentiality.

  1. Stark Polarisation With Pakistani And Muslim Men

What is interesting in the case of those with Pakistani ethnicity is that results suggest a high level of abstinence among those with Pakistani backgrounds. In contrast, Pakistani and Muslim men who do drink will drink in higher proportions.

In the case of discussing higher rates of heavy drinking, this is derived from drinking more than the recommended three units per day. Pakistani men who do drink will consume more alcohol units than any other ethnic minority group in the UK.

In this case, again, thorough research has not been completed so we can’t draw further conclusions specific to Pakistani ethnicity, all we know is that 45% of Asian men admit to drinking, with 1% drinking more than 50 units per average week. For Asian women, however, 74% are non-drinkers, and 0% drink more than 35 units of alcohol per week.

  1. Increase In Chinese Men And Indian Women Drinkers

While people from white backgrounds have the lowest levels of non-drinkers, the use of alcohol is changing for some ethnicities, particularly with Chinese men and Indian women, who are drinking more frequently and heavily than in the last generation. This trend is also strengthened by the fact that people from Indian, Chinese and Pakistani backgrounds who have a typically higher income than the national average also drink above recommended limits.

What is interesting is that despite ethnic minorities drinking less than their white counterparts, the studies suggest that ethnic minorities have almost equal levels of alcohol dependence.

More Research Needed

To really engage with all the ethnicities in the UK, market research needs to do more to address and understand cultural issues and break down the information into specific ethnicities, so results become much clearer and easier to interpret.

It is clear that there is vital information available that would help both manufacturers, marketers and the drinks industry as a whole, as well as health services. However, unless the research actually engages with the people and appreciates and values all ethnicities, it will be challenging to outline trends and make conclusive statements about ethnicity and drinking.