Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs)are on the decline and have been for 10 years. This consumer shift has heralded the way for functional beverages like coconut waters, acai products, coffee and energy drinks.
Sports beverages now include ingredients for energy, muscle gain, focus and recovery to support the individual needs of active consumers. An important offshoot of sports nutrition is the energy shot category.
Today, energy and sweetness reduction top the list of mainstream shifts in beverage innovation.
In the “health and wealth” sector, niches abound that create opportunity for beverage marketers—from waters based on things like maple syrup and celery to natural colors and preservatives, plant proteins and the promise of the de-sugaring of fruit.
“We cannot move too quickly on removing sugar and continuing growth of the functional ingredient inclusions,” said Jim Tonkin, president of Healthy Brand Builders beverage consultancy. “Not all will taste great or be sweet enough for the American palate. Bring on the function, low/no sugar, and the parade of new and better for you.”
Premium-priced high-pressure processing (HPP) uses simple pressure and heat to pasteurize and extract nutritional compounds. The result is a new taste sensation that’s said to preserve the best parts of fruits and vegetables—and at a kingly price point manufacturers and marketers love.
Infusing cannabis into beverages is starting to ramp up. In Canada, which legalized straight-up get-high marijuana, consumers will soon see the emergence of the cannabis beverage category with an intoxicant based on THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
In the U.S. market, CBD beverages are already a thing as the ingredient continues its march across the landscape in every delivery format innovators can think up.
For beverage formulators, selecting the right beverage sweetener solution is usually driven by sugar-reduction goals.
The stevia/rebaudioside A (Reb A) revolution has fundamentally changed the innovation portfolio for beverage manufacturers and marketers. After FDA approved stevia as a sweetener in 2008—specifically for Coca-Cola to use Cargill’s Reb-A stevia—Cargill alone over the ensuing decade has replaced more than 500 million pounds of sugar globally with its stevia products, and another 2 billion pounds of sugar globally with its stevia and polyol combination products, said Andy Ohmes, Cargill’s global director of high intensity sweeteners. That’s an overall reduction of more than 3 trillion calories in the last five years.
This is an abridged version of an article found in INSIDER’s beverages digital magazine. Download the magazine to read the full article.