Functional beverages include traditional and nontraditional ingredients such as “antioxidants, amino acids, herbs, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, prebiotics, fruits, vegetables, botanical flavors and super-fruit extracts” to give consumers health benefits (Source: Tantobeverage.com). The Covid-19 pandemic has sparked interest in functional beverages as consumers incorporate these beverages into their diet to reap the health benefit and to stay healthy.
According to Precedence Research, "The global functional beverage market was valued at US $129.31 billion in 2021 and projected to be worth around US $279.4 billion by 2023 with a CAGR of 8.94 percent from 2022 to 2030." The functional beverages category ranges from "plant-based milks, ready to drink teas, energy drinks, enhanced waters, sports drinks and meal replacers and probiotic drinks," according to Intelligent Blends.
Allen Marketing Communications, Inc., a boutique food and beverages public relations agency based in New York City, spotlights the top five functional beverage trends.
As consumers increasingly become health conscious, various needs and dietary restrictions demand to be met. Intelligent Blends ”at the same conclusion that there is a rising interest in plant-based options. Both found hydration brands are gradually using plant-based ingredients, such as lettuce and sweet potato water, in their formulations.”
Large, well-known companies are innovating their beverages by fusing their old popular products with electrolytes and juice derived from plants. Such innovation is propelled by the growing expectations of consumers to be supplied with improved products. While on the topic of plants, innovators are also looking at another plant to explore the protein benefits.
Mood Boosting Beverages
Today, there is so much that is going on in the world, it’s so easy to be affected by anything and everything. It’s no wonder people are searching for beverages that provide mood-boosting and relaxing benefits in addition to digestive and immune system benefits.
Everyone is on a different path in life, so naturally we all live pretty unique lives, thus, we all prioritize health benefits a little differently. For some people, “they may also want to improve their cognitive health, which is noted to be especially popular amongst middle-aged and elderly people,” according to Intelligent Blends.
Green tea and yerba mate have been shown to boost one’s mood naturally. These ingredients are often used in “Nootropics refer to brain stimulants, brain productivity enhancers, and focus and attention boosters. Nootropics are supplements that help to improve cognitive functions, such as mood, memory, creativity, or motivation,” according to Intelligent Blends.
In order to get the most mental and health benefits please all demographics, it will be crucial to consider all ingredient combinations.
There are certain ingredients that are buzzwords and are particularly popular amongst the newer generations. Innovators are finding ways to experiment and incorporate CBD into functional beverages. As it is not FDA approved, there is still information to be collected on whether certain unregulated ingredients can be beneficial.
On the other hand, Beverage Industry anticipates, “nearly 80 percent of the future hemp allocation will go towards grains (for plant-based protein), not CBD, [because] hemp seeds contain more protein than … almonds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.”
Beverage Industry reports “it has been additionally revealed that hemp seeds exhibit, “impressive emulsification and foaming properties helpful for plant-based milk, creamers, and meal replacement beverages.”
Be ready to see functional beverages become prevalent among distribution outlets. As of right now, Global Newswire notes “key distribution channels for functional beverages are supermarkets, hypermarkets, health stores, online retails, department stores, and convenience stores.”
Research shows, “functional beverages are a novelty that people prefer to purchase in-person. This growing market will only make healthy eating more widely available than ever.”
Intelligent Blends also has found that, “consumers are reaching for drinks that are packed with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and other immune boosting ingredients.” Both claim back the notion that people are striving to be more aware of what they are putting in their body.
Caffeine Please, but Hold the Crash
As people want to avoid the negative consequences frequently associated with caffeine, stimulants other than caffeine are becoming more popular. “Functional drinks such as ready-to-drink tea (RTD) are regarded as beneficial hydration beverages” according to Linchpin. It offers benefits of refreshment and stimulation without the potential drawbacks of coffee, “that could make someone jittery or crash.”
Although coffee and other caffeinated beverages will continue to be consumed, many people are looking at long lasting health benefits, and in turn choose non-caffeinated liquids.
It’s no secret people are more health conscious and wish to find new ways to lead their health-focused diets thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic. Health conscious consumers are turning to functional beverages and exploring different ingredients, alongside their benefits, to fit their new lifestyle.
Functional beverages will continue to be on the rise as long as companies continue to do their research on their target audience and experiment with different ingredients for innovative flavors and health benefits. Our talented team of food and beverage public relations professionals are here to help companies grow in this thriving category of the beverage market.
By Rania Perales at Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.