Beverage sales climbed during the pandemic, leading to increased innovation in the beverage industry to accommodate demands from different categories. Current food and beverage industry trends focus on transparency and keeping pace with evolving customer demands.
Soft drink value and volume sales in the licensed trade last year were just over a third of 2019 figures, while foodservice soft drinks sales fell by more than a third.
As more consumers shift to a lifestyle with hybrid work, demand for beverages with health benefits particularly probiotics and functional beverages is through the roof. This presents a great opportunity for beverage brands to innovate and stand out on jam-packed retail shelves.
1. Health and Immunity
Studies show, that 2020-21 has led to six out of ten global consumers looking for products that improve and maintain their immunity. Consumers spent a great deal of time and effort in staying healthy and this included food and beverage innovation. While consumers are on the lookout for immunity-boosting products, they are on the lookout for ingredients offering active health benefits with flavor and natural color.
We believe this trend will continue with companies working on developing immunity-boosting products. Beverage market research shows that this has led to product innovation using moringa, turmeric, and probiotics among others. Brands are now developing products centered around specific ingredients with high benefits. Chobani, for instance, recently announced a probiotic yogurt range.
2. Alcohol Alternatives
The global non-alcoholic beverage market is expected to reach a record value of US$1,650.28 billion by 2024. One of the driving forces behind this is the increasing demand from millennials and Gen Z consumers.
Additionally, zero-proof drinks were one of the top 10 food trends for 2021. As the market for no and low-alcoholic beverages grows, there is ample room for creativity. Research shows that people are choosing to drink no/low alcoholic beverages to avoid the effects of drinking alcohol. Additionally, there is an inclination for moderation over abstinence.
3. Incorporating Sustainability
With climate change and global warming taking center stage consumers are trying to do their role in reducing environmental impact. Research from NYC Stern shows that 50% of CPG growth from 2013 to 2018 came from sustainability-marketed products. The same study revealed that products marketed as sustainable grew 5.6 times faster than those that were not.
The current beverage market trends show that beverage companies can contribute to sustainability by incorporating certain policies into their products and supply chain. This could include eco-friendly packaging, eco-conscious production partners, and more.
4. Minimizing Sugar
Increasing awareness of health and wellness is accelerating the need to eliminate sugar. The FDA’s enforcement of the mandatory declaration of added sugars on the Nutrition Facts Label began on January 1, 2020. The International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) Annual Food and Health Survey, shows that more Americans than before attribute weight gain to carbs and specifically sugars.
This trend will prove to be a challenge to the beverage industry in developing products with the desired sweetness, flavor, texture, and calorie count that consumers want. This will necessitate an understanding of sweetener innovations and how best to incorporate them.
5. “Better-for-You” Beverages
“Better-for-you” beverages give priority to clean labels, natural ingredients, minimal sugar, lesser calories, and alternatives to caffeine. Current beverage trends demonstrate that various products with the above features are in enormous demand. The pandemic has only served to heighten consumer focus on the impact of stress on health and immunity.
“Better-for-you” drinks emphasize ingredients with excellent health benefits. This includes superfoods, probiotics, prebiotics, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, botanicals, adaptogens, and proteins. These beverage industry trends are having their impact across beverage categories, especially tea, kombucha, energy and sports drinks, and bottled water.
6. CBD-infused beverages
Increasing public effort to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes has led to skyrocketing interest in Cannabidiol (CBD) infused products. Beverage market research shows that the CBD-infused beverages market is expected to reach a value of US$8.96 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 15.50%.
As the primary component of marijuana CBD by itself doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. Research shows that it can soothe your anxiety, alleviate chronic pain, and even help with seizures.
Medahuman offers “targeted functional wellness through the synergy of CBD, with adaptogens, nootropics, and nutrients.” With many mental health crises over the last year, this might prove to be a great remedy to manage anxiety.
Other brands like Trip have branched out to infusing CBD with cold-brew coffee to offer an optimal blend of energy while staying relaxed. Chilled from France has developed a blend of hibiscus and CBD-infused sparkling water with an optimal 15mg CBD per can to alleviate anxiety, and stress, and improve concentration.
Also Read: Food Trends & Predictions 2022
Product Launches in the Food & Beverage Industry
Probi and Oriflame
Probi and Oriflame, two major Swedish companies, have entered into an agreement to launch a probiotic supplement for general gut health. The focus will be on the Swedish heritage of innovation, natural ingredients, and high-quality products.
The concept is based on Probi Digestis. The product, based on beverage research, includes a probiotic strain having proven health benefits and is a customer-specific formulation. The global launch was expected in the fall of 2021.
Coca-Cola’s newest product ― Coca-Cola with Coffee ― has been launched in the US. Available as Coca-Cola with Coffee and Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar, it offers a potent flavor profile. The product is infused with Brazilian coffee and is available in three signature flavors, dark blend, vanilla, and caramel.
The company has also launched a zero-sugar version with the flavors of dark blend and vanilla. Current food and beverage trends show that this product ticks the right boxes, especially for people looking to limit calorie consumption.
Famous Soda Company is an Australian brand developing 100% sugar-free sodas. Available across a range of flavors such as passion fruit, cola, blood orange, and pink lemonade, the product has only 8 calories per soda with no added sugar, chemicals, additives, or preservatives.
This makes it a great innovation, especially for people who are looking to eliminate sugar from their diets without missing out on flavor.
Good Sunday is leading the charge in Canada for low-alcohol beverages. Their gin sodas come in two flavors – lemon and grapefruit. Crafted using a combination of local Ontario gin, real fruit juice (lemon and grapefruit), and fresh carbonated water it contains only 1g of sugar and 3% alcohol.
With more people turning to low and no-alcohol beverages, Good Sunday is set to breach new heights in this market.
The concept of sustainability is driving a majority of the current food and beverage trends ranging from novel packaging to eco-friendly supply chain policies. Other significant trends leading to innovation in the beverage industry include the prioritization of health and immunity, elimination of sugar, and alternatives for alcohol.
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