Society is fueled by trends. Consumers often latch onto what’s popular based on current cultural values and events. The beverage industry goes through the same sort of trend cycles that the fashion industry does—just with drinks, of course.
Beverages have changed a lot over the years, especially in our post-pandemic world where people are more focused on their health and well-being than ever before. What does this mean for the beverage industry? Consumers are reaching for drinks that are packed with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and other immune boosting ingredients. That is to say that people want functional beverages that not only taste good, but are good for them.
In this article, we’ll be discussing what functional beverages are, current trends in the beverage industry, how you can introduce functional beverages into your product line, and more. It’s important to stay on top of functional drink trends so that you can cater your product line to fit in with what’s selling right now. Doing so will help keep your brand relevant and lucrative. Keep reading to learn more about current trends and potentially leveraging them to grow your brand.
- What Are Functional Beverages?
- Growth in the Functional Beverage Market
- Trends Shaping the Industry
- Are Functional Beverages Worth Investing in for Your Brand?
- How Can You Introduce Functional Beverages in Your Product Line?
- Take Advantage of This Opportunity to Grow Your Brand
What Are Functional Beverages?
So, what are functional beverages? Functional drinks are essentially beverages with added health benefits to improve their nutritional value. The functional beverage industry is the largest functional food sector, as well as the fastest growing market in the sector.
The goal of a functional beverage is to target a specific function of the body or mind and improve your overall health and well-being. When you hear this, you may think: “So, like a green juice?” While green juices are definitely grouped in with functional beverages, it goes way beyond just that. Functional beverages include any drinks that contain fruits and/or vegetables, in addition to herbs, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and more.
Functional beverages can be grouped into a couple of different categories, including:
- Dairy-based beverages
- Probiotic drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Meal replacers
- Caffeinated beverages
- Fruit and vegetable beverages
As long as a beverage has the goal to improve the body or mind in some way, it can technically be called a functional beverage. Functional beverages typically aim to boost the immune system, improve mental and physical conditions, and more qualities along those lines.
Growth in the Functional Beverage Market
The functional beverage industry is growing at rapid rapids so it’s important to be aware of what the market is seeing. Because today’s consumers are more health-conscious than ever, they want drinks that are going to cater to that. That means quick, convenient, and nutritious beverages. According to the Business Research Company, the functional beverage market growth is expected to increase from $121.18 billion in 2020 to $130.51 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate of 7.7%.
In addition to consumers being more health-conscious nowadays, the rise of organic, clean-label, and natural products also has an impact on the functional beverage market growth. Customers first look for energy in their beverages, followed by gut health, relaxation, and protein. When choosing functional beverages, they prioritize flavor, natural ingredients, and low-calorie options.
Because of all of these qualities, it’s crucial to expand your product offering to cater to the functional beverage market growth. These beverages aren’t going anywhere, if anything, they’re just going to continue to get more and more popular in the upcoming years. So it’s best to hop on it early and start expanding your product offering now.
Trends Shaping the Industry
Now that we know about the functional beverage market growth that’s expected in the upcoming years, let’s talk about which trends are shaping the industry. It’s important to stay on top of all of the trends so that you can cater your product offerings to fit them. Some trends you should keep an eye out for include beverages with new ingredients, stimulants besides coffee, and experimentation with nootropics. We’ll get more into it below.
The pandemic has ultimately been a driving force when it comes to growth in the beverage industry. With the spread of COVID-19, people have become more health conscious. People want to consume food and drinks that will boost their immune system and benefit their health. That means less sugary soft drinks and more functional drinks with added health benefits.
There are a lot of new ingredients that are being used in these beverages in general, like CBD, collagen, and adaptogens. Sports drinks are starting to expand their nutritional content to utilize healthier ingredients. Ingredients like CBD and collagen are very popular among millennials, which is great to know if you’re hoping to target your beverages towards that age group.
With Intelligent Blends, you can create custom beverage blends from a myriad of ingredients, including: coffee, tea, herbal remedies, vitamins and minerals, superfoods, sweeteners, various flavors, and more. You can customize your drink to not only taste good, but have the health benefits your target market is looking for. Whether you want to add herbal remedies or vitamins, you can make your own healthy creation when you partner with Intelligent Blends.
Although caffeine drinks are still popular, many people are looking for non-caffeinated alternatives to enjoy. Stimulates other than caffeine are on the rise as consumers want to avoid the negative effects that are often associated with drinking coffee. For example, L-theanine has become a popular healthy alternative to use in energy drinks.
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. Some common ingredients with this include green tea and yerba mate. It’s expected that nootropics will continue to be experimented with, so this is definitely something to keep an eye on within the functional beverage industry.
Desire for Beverages That Boost Mood
In addition to immune boosting benefits, people are looking for beverages that have mood-boosting and relaxation benefits as well. The middle-aged and eldery demographics want drinks that can boost cognitive health. It’s important to be aware of what the different age groups look for in their functional beverages, as they will have different priorities when it comes to health benefits. Take a look at your target audience and see what aspects of their health are most important to them.
Demand for Healthy Drink Options
There has been a definite increase in demand for healthy drink options in recent months. According to a report from Grand View Research, the functional beverage market is expected to progress at a compound annual growth rate of 6.1%. And, according to Euromonitor International, this market segment is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2022. Functional beverages will become more personalized in upcoming months and years as consumers prefer to consume foods that are adding value to their health.
More Distribution Channels
Health food is more accessible now than it ever has been, with functional beverages being sold at most supermarkets, department stores, health stores, and online. The distribution channels are going to continue to increase as functional drinks become more and more commonplace in society.
Demand for Plant-Based Alternatives
The demand for more plant-based options is on the rise, which aligns right with the functional beverage industry. Hydration brands in specific are starting to incorporate more plant-based ingredients in their beverages, like lettuce and sweet potato water.
Are Functional Beverages Worth Investing in for Your Brand?
Yes, functional beverages are most likely worth investing for your brand. Functional beverage market growth is on the rise and it doesn’t look like it’s stopping anytime soon, so now is your chance to hop in on the trend. Investing in your own functional beverages will put you ahead of the curve as you’ll have a better idea of the trends and what health benefits your target audience is looking for in their functional drinks.
How Can You Introduce Functional Beverages in Your Product Line?
If you’ve been convinced to invest in functional beverages but aren’t sure where to start, consider partnering with Intelligent Blends. We make it easy to customize your own drinks with superior taste and quick fulfillment, all while following sustainable measures in the production process. Our production facility ensures consistent quality, quick customer responses, and more. We also have several notable certifications, such as QAI Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified.
Intelligent Blends functional beverage offerings include stick packs, bags, cold brew, and more, so you can easily find a packaging format that works best for your brand.
Take Advantage of This Opportunity to Grow Your Brand
The functional beverage industry is a great opportunity to grow your brand and increase sales at a rapid rate. Whether it’s with probiotics or a sports drink, the sky’s the limit when it comes to functional drinks. As long as you pay attention to the trends and make sure your drinks have those added health benefits, you’ll be good to go. Functional drinks are on the rise, so it’s best to get in on it now and get ahead of the crowd. Contact Intelligent Blends today to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to grow your brand.