With the growing demand for low- and no-alcohol options showing no signs of slowing down, Heineken UK commissioned the ‘Zero Zones’ initiative, an award-winning concept that has since begun to roll out worldwide. 

With trials across the UK already in selected stores, ‘Zero Zones’ are available for retailers to install, offering dedicated PoS, display installations and information for consumers, with a view to navigating shoppers and helping them discover alcohol-free options in store. 

The longer-term goal is to develop whole ‘Zero Zone’ aisles or fixtures like you would find in any other aisle, offering maximum efficiency and convenience for shoppers.

We speak to three retailers to find out the impact of ‘Zero Zones’ on their stores.

Retailer views

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Jack Matthews, Bradley’s Supermarket (Nisa Local), Quorn, Leicestershire  

“Zero-alcohol is a fast-growing segment, and we want to be ahead of our competitors. As shoppers are switching to healthier alternatives, we needed to cater for the growing demand. We introduced ‘Zero Zone’ chillers approximately five months ago, and customers are responding well. 

“Shoppers are noticing the category more than before, but we found the best way to maximise sales was to introduce a secondary siting – so we merchandised them next to the beer, as well as the new ‘Zero Zone’ chiller. 

“We’re expecting a rise in sales as the new year approaches, as well as throughout January, as shoppers cut down even more on alcohol. In recent years, shoppers have been open to trying low- and no-alcohol options, such as Heineken 0.0 – especially as the taste of alcohol-free beer has improved. 

“We began seeing a sales increase of alcohol-free beer and cider earlier this year, with many customers asking whether we stocked any, and we were having to guide them quite frequently. 

“Now, they notice the chiller the moment they walk in the store and I’m selling more as a result. Overall, I think I’ve had a 50% year-on-year increase.” 

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Sandeep Bains, Simply Fresh Faversham, Faversham, Kent 

“Low- and no-alcohol is one of the fastest-growing sub-categories, and we want to be ahead of the curve. We are taking steps to become a one-stop destination by having the right range, great deals and keeping on top of trends. 

“By continually being ahead of our competitors, shoppers are going to visit our store every time a new trend comes to the market because they know we’ll have it in. Our business model is about growing with the trend, so shoppers will never go elsewhere. 

“We’ve had the ‘Zero Zone’ chiller in store for about a week or so, and it’s an attractive unit. Customers notice it as they enter the alcohol section and the display is very impactful. As we enter the new year, I’m sure sales will double. 

“We have a good range of alcohol-free products in already, from ale to lager, and it’s quite popular with customers. New products take time to launch in terms of sales, but Heineken 0.0 is showing growth already. 

“Heineken has always been a strong seller, and it’s a brand shoppers trust, so they’re more likely to purchase it. As shoppers continue to make healthier choices and switch to no-alcohol, they’ll be looking for alcohol-free versions of bestselling brands, so I’m expecting big sales and positive feedback.” 

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Imtiyaz Mamode, Wych Lane Premier, Gosport, Portsmouth

“We’ve seen a lot of our customers purchasing alcohol-free products for different reasons. We always experience a spike in sales over the Christmas period, but in recent years we’ve noticed a rise in low- and no-alcohol products. Shoppers want to lead healthier lifestyles, but are looking for products to take part in social occasions during the festive season. 

“Customers are now coming in and specifically asking for Heineken 0.0, and the ‘Zero Zone’ chiller means it’s ready to drink cold straight away. Before we had the ‘Zero Zone’ chiller, I was only purchasing one or two cases every three weeks, but in the past few months, I’ve been buying two cases every week. 

“It’s important to cater for growing trends so you’re ahead of the curve, and encourage additional footfall. Installing the Heineken 0.0 chiller has been great for sales, with zero-alcohol almost doubling in its first week. Placing the chiller with our alcohol range has allowed us to introduce a secondary siting, as well as give our shoppers a wider variety of zero-alcohol options. 

“We’ve seen the changes in the market over the past year, and I expect the demand for zero-alcohol to continue to grow in the next few years, so we want to be ahead of the curve.”

Supplier view

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Toby Lancaster, category and shopper marketing director, Heineken UK

“No- and low-alcohol is a category that has significant room available for growth, which can be seen by the growing demand from shoppers and range of options that have entered the category in the past two years. 

“Yet space restrictions in store, combined with a number of shoppers unclear on exactly what no- and low-alcohol options are available, as well as where they can find them, means retailers often face challenges when merchandising no- and low-alcohol ranges. 

“As of November 2019, we have more than 2,000 stores with no- and low-alcohol installed, and more than 100 stores with ‘Zero Zone’ chillers. We work with retailers to cover the costs of installing the chillers, as well as any supporting PoS, and aim to roll out a significant number of no- and low-alcohol zones and ‘Zero Zone’ chillers throughout 2020. 

“A typical chiller can stock up to 45 packs of Heineken 0.0 (4x330ml), however, we suggest retailers stock a full alcohol-free range in the chiller. We recommend a range that includes Heineken 0.0 4x330ml packs as the lead products, with Heineken 0.0 330ml single cans to drive further trial, and, finally, bottles of cider, such as Old Mout Alcohol Free, to have an option available for cider drinkers.”

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