Functional Beverage Trends Predicted for 2021
Let’s be honest. It may be the elixir of life, but plain old water is a bit of a bore and most other non-boozy beverages have too much sugar, caffeine, or other additives to be consumed regularly.
Over the last five years, consumers have thought so too as they increasingly gravitate towards healthier eating habits. Since 2016, interest in healthy eating and healthy diets has gone up by 89%, and by nearly 40% since 2019.
And this interest has extended to beverages as well. Consumers today don’t just want their beverages to taste good and help them stay hydrated, they also want added health benefits. And this is why functional beverages have seen extraordinary growth. Consumer interest in functional beverages over the last one year alone increased by a whopping 272%.
Functional beverages have in the past largely been associated with sports and fitness, but consumers are constantly on the lookout for easy ways to get nutritional and health benefits through food rather than medicines. Interest in food as medicine grew by 25% over the last year, and by 780% since 2016. As such, we’ve seen this trend expand beyond supporting sports lifestyles to also catering to more everyday requirements, as our analysis below shows.
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Barrage of beverages
While many of these claims are well established, there are plenty of emerging functional benefits that recent launches are tapping into. Beverages are a great medium to experiment with in terms of incorporating functional ingredients. It’s no wonder then that there have been a slew of interesting functional beverage launches over the past few months, covering functional benefits ranging from relaxation and sleep to immunity.
Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., for example, just launched a new range of functional infused waters under the brand B1U, featuring simple ingredients and no sugar or artificial sweeteners. The variant for the season sports an immunity claim with zinc and Vitamin C to offer protection. Other ingredients highlighted by the range include including protein, fiber, and caffeine.
With our out-and-about lives severely curbed by the pandemic, expect to see significant interest in weight management products over the coming years. We’re already seeing a number of beverage products addressing this issue, focusing on specifics. Bolthouse Farms’ Bolts Metabolism shot includes 66mg of cayenne, along with tomato and green tea extract, aimed at boosting metabolism.
Sleep is important too and we all could do with more of it. That’s why we’re seeing functional launches that aid rest and relaxation (check out our blog on sleep foods for more on this topic).
Som Sleep’s range includes L-theanine, GABA (gamma-aminobutyricacid), magnesium, Vitamin B6, and melatonin. Pepsi’s gotten in on the action as well with Driftwell, which includes 200 mg of L-theanine and 10% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
In the coming couple of years, we expect to see the functional beverage trends rise. This space tackles a lot more functional needs of consumers. Some of the major health claims to watch out for, based on our data, include eye health, hair health, hormone balance, and brain health.
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To say it’s been a tough year is a bit of an understatement. Stress and anxiety have been near-constant companions for many of us, borne out by a 31% spike over the last year, according to Spoonshot data.
One impact of stress is dehydration, and conversely, dehydration can cause greater anxiety or stress levels. So, staying hydrated is a very important part of our pandemic life.
Ranjana works as the Lead Research Analyst for Spoonshot. Her past experience includes working with a major global market research company, specializing in food and drink trends. She has also worked with major publications as a writer and editor.