Alcohol In Common Food And Drinks

Written By Ian

Last Updated :

In This Article...

Its pretty common non-alcoholic beer contains tiny amounts of alcohol. You may be surprised what common household food & drink also contains traces of alcohol.

It’s pretty common knowledge now that non-alcoholic beers still contain a tiny amount of alcohol. 

Even though non-alcoholic beers are labelled as alcohol-free, they can actually contain up to 0.5% ABV. 

It’s kind of an oxymoron; when you find out that your non-alcoholic beer actually contains alcohol, it can be a little off-putting. 

But that word – beer has a slight stigma attached to it.

Even more surprisingly, a lot of typical household foods and drinks also contain the same alcohol as a typical non-alcoholic beer.

This might not sound like much, but if you’re trying to avoid alcohol altogether, it can be challenging to do because it’s found in so many common foods and drinks.

Naturally Occurring Alcohol

Did you know that we all produce alcohol in our bodies every day, even if we don’t drink? 

The average person may generate up to one ounce (or 28 grams) in a day, and the amount of alcohol produced can increase if you eat certain foods.

This natural bodily process is called endogenous ethanol production.

So, even if we try to avoid alcohol, it’s technically impossible to do! But that one is a bit of a stretch. So let’s look at how our common household foods can generate the same alcohol content as a typical non-alcoholic beer.

Alcohol In Food

Many foods and drinks contain alcohol. But, alcohol will only be listed as an active ingredient if it has been added as an ingredient by the producer. 

So, the reason a non-alcoholic beer needs to list alcohol as an ingredient is that alcohol has been added during the brewing process and then filtered or boiled before becoming a non-alcoholic product.

When we talk about alcohol in food, we’re usually referring to ethanol. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that’s produced by the fermentation of sugars. It’s the type of alcohol that’s found in beer, wine and spirits.

Ethanol fermentation is carried out by yeasts or bacteria under certain conditions.


When it comes to food for example, yeast is often added to food and drink to start the fermentation process. 

However, some foods and drinks can contain alcohol because of spontaneous fermentation. This happens when wild yeasts turn sugar into alcohol under the right conditions.


Bacteria can convert sugars into energy through fermentation, resulting in the production of byproducts such as lactic acid.

Now that we know how alcohol ends up in our household foods & drink let’s look at which common ones contain alcohol and how much might be in it.

What Food And Drink Contains Alcohol?

A study carried out by the University of Kaiserslautern in 2016 looked into how much alcohol was in common household food and drink items. 

Studies have been carried out by the University of Kaiserlauterns , and the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 22 ,  estimating what common food and drink have alcohol content in our typical household items.

Non-Alcoholic Beer0.05%
Soy SauceBetween 1-2%
KombuchaBetween 0.2-3%
White Wine Vinegar2.65%
Burger Rolls1.28%
Sweet Milk Rolls1.21%
Grape Juice0.8%
Orange Juice0.7%
Apple Juice0.6%
7 Up0.5%
Ripe Banana0.4%
Ripe Pear0.4%
Rye Bread0.2%
Regular Banana (Not ripe or dark)0.2%
Regular Pear (Not ripe or brown/dark)0.2%
Wheat Roll0.14%
Fruit Yogourt0.02%
Regular Yoghurt0.02%

On a daily basis we are all pretty exposed to alcohol just from common food and drink items we consume for breakfast, lunch and snacks. 

Looking at the results above, some orange and apple juices could contain an even higher abv that a typical non-alcoholic beer!

Does that mean you can get drunk from apple juice or bread rolls?

Far from it!

You would need an astonishing amount to even get slightly tipsy. 

And even at that, you’re not going to get drunk because your liver will process the alcohol faster than it builds up in your bloodstream.

The same way your body deals with the low abv of a non-alcoholic beer.

Should I Change My Diet To Avoid This?

While it’s quite an interesting little fact to bore your friends with, I don’t think it will affect the way we think about our household juices or everyday fruits. 

I think the best way to look at this is by comparing how common small concentrations of alcohol are pretty much all around us. 

And take away the stigma of non-alcoholic beers as zero beers are pretty much in comparison with your household juices, sodas you buy at the store, and even the fruit we have in our kitchens.

And remember, alcohol will only be listed as an active ingredient if it has been added as an ingredient, so if a product still has a low alcohol percentage, it won’t be listed as it is naturally occurring. 

Leave a Comment