Supermarket can help with hangovers

August 05, 2014

Widespread drinking creates new sales and educational opportunities for food stores – even if they don’t sell much alcohol or any at all.

A majority of U.S. drinkers experience hangovers (57.0%) – and most who do (58.3%) say the hangovers are more intense than they used to be.  Although just one in eight (12.2%) say the hangovers come “always” or “usually,” the unpleasantness drives them to try to avoid hangovers entirely, or reduce their frequency and intensity.

Findings of an exclusive national consumer poll by The Lempert Report detail the most common steps people take:

  • Drink water (89.8%)
  • Sleep (69.4%)
  • Drink less than I used to (69.4%) 

Further down the list:

  • Shower (34.7%)
  • Exercise (26.5%)
  • Drink coffee (14.3%)
  • Take an OTC hangover remedy (10.2%)
  • Drink coconut water to restore electrolytes (10.2%)
  • Eat eggs (cysteine breaks down toxins)  (8.2%)
  • Eat ginger or ginger capsules (digestive) (8.2%)

In order, people say red wine is the most common drink choice in their household (71.8%), followed by beer (57.7%), white wine (50.6%), craft beer (42.4%), vodka (30.6%), and whiskey (24.7%).  More than four in ten (43.5%) told TLR in the survey they consume an alcoholic beverage once a week, three in ten (30.6%) say “most days of the week,” and 14.1% say once or more a day.

While this doesn’t seem excessive, our survey raises the question why hangovers seem more intense.  Science hasn’t fully mapped the relationship between alcohol, glucose levels, various chemicals and hangovers, though more research is addressing the topic now, according to recent coverage in Wired.

Meanwhile, given the ubiquity of drinking and the widespread risk of hangovers and unsafe behaviors, TLR suggests that supermarkets inform shoppers about common food products that could help – such as coffee, coconut water, eggs, ginger and OTC remedies mentioned above, as well as B and C vitamins, juice (to restore glucose and vitamin C, bananas (to restore potassium) and asparagus (enzymes break down toxins).  Stores may also want to promote responsible drinking and curtail irresponsible driving in two ways:  offer home delivery of wine, beer and spirits, and consider selling some of the new inexpensive personal breathalyzers reaching the marketplace.