World: AB InBev 'off track' on non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beer goal

AB InBev will have problems to reach its goal of achieving 20% of its beer volume with non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages by 2025. “We are a little over 6% still”, as AB InBev’s Chief Sustainability Officer Ezgi Barcenas told Reuters on Wednesday, adding: "We are off track."

However, Barcenas did not tell, if the goal is still within reach and what extra measures the world’s leading brewer will take to still meet its goal. Barcenas said that the goals have been set before AB InBev bought SAB Miller which has dramatically changed AB InBev’s footprint. In addition, AB InBev's "commercial strategy is changing." The company is no longer focusing “to push the volume out” but rather “provide the consumer with choice and information". As she added, "At the time this was announced, we didn't have the availability of choice.”

On its website the company states that “our ambition is for existing drinkers to integrate no-alcohol beers and beer with 3.5% ABV or lower into their current drink choices, reducing their overall total alcohol intake.” In order to achieve this “we have launched no-alcohol beers in many of our key markets, including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Belgium, China and the UK, and have introduced new low-alcohol beer products in a number of countries including Canada, South Africa, Australia and multiple European markets.”

 In December 2015, AB InBev launched its four Global Smart Drinking Goals — a set of programs and initiatives focused on shifting within ten years social norms, consumer behaviors, and its own business practices.

One of the four goals which is now questioned is “to ensure that low- or no-alcohol beer products make up at least 20% of our global beer volume by 2025.”

The other three are to “reduce the harmful use of alcohol by at least 10% in six cities by the end of 2020. Implement the best practices globally by the end of 2025”, to “invest $1 billion USD across our markets in dedicated social marketing campaigns and related programs by the end of 2025”, and to “place a Guidance Label on all of our beer products in all of our markets by the end of 2020. Increase alcohol health literacy by the end of 2025”.

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