Healthy Drink Trends to Watch

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Healthy Drink Trends to Watch


In anticipation of the inaugural Healthy Beverage Expo, set for June 7-9, 2013 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and co-located with the 11th annual World Tea Expo, the show organizers at World Tea Media, a division of integrated media company F+W Media Inc., have come up with a list of the top 10 2013-2014 healthy beverage trends.

The trends are as follows:

  1. More Function: More and more drinks will combine powerful ingredients for specific functions, to create “two-for-one” beverages. “We’ll see drinks touting brain health and bone health, as well as ‘healthy’ energy drinks,” said Kim Jage, marketing and sales director of Healthy Beverage Expo. “We’ll also see drinks that combine coconut and fruit. … And we can anticipate more waters with electrolytes but no artificial flavors. … Also, watch for healthy ready-to-drink beverages that add essential fatty acids --- such as omega 3s.”
  2. Better Beverage Sweeteners: Expect to see more natural sweeteners and flavorings that could dramatically affect the soft drink business. “We expect to see new sweeteners that shave off calories and maintain taste,” noted Jage. “And we bet that the days of drinking sugary drinks full of high-fructose corn syrup are coming to an end. The beginning of the end will be more noticeable in 2013-2014.” A recent Healthy Beverage Expo white paper, 7 Key Changes the Beverage Industry Must Accept, even contended that “Americans will morph their taste buds into craving less sweet beverages. As a result, sugars content in beverages will diminish to about a third of their present volume.” Added Jage: “Sweeteners like monkfruit will quickly penetrate the market in beverage applications and, I predict, overtake Stevia.”
  3. Healthy Alcohol-based Beverages: Consumers may begin to see alcoholic beverages marketed as enhanced and healthy as more manufacturers add vitamins and a variety of all-natural ingredients. According to Jage, “We will see healthier alcohol in all forms with [fewer] calories and more organic options, with many announcing their non-GMO [genetically modified organisms] status.”
  4. Healthy Beverages for the Under-18 Set: The industry will re-evaluate what beverages being marketed to teens and children, and what the choices are beyond soda, juice and water. In fact, Healthy Beverage Expo predicts that more beverages will target teens and appear at grocery; these products will be healthier, flavorful and marketed as functional, and they’ll be parent-approved. “As parents, we’re not offering soda, schools aren’t offering soda, and basic juice and water can be a bore for this group,” says Jage. “Our kids, like us, sometimes need functional beverages --- a wake-me-up in a time starved world, a relaxant for day’s end. Adults have these products at leisure; teens don’t. Also, the products out there that are suitable to teens are not marketed to teens -- and the packaging is not teen-friendly. That will all start to change in 2013.” Jage additionally noted the recent controversy over teen consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks, and how it’s driving the push to label caffeine content. “I don't believe announcing caffeine content will help,” observed Jage. “As a matter of fact, I think the higher the caffeine content, the more appealing the product will be for teens. Thus, labeling caffeine content will have an opposite effect of intent. The industry really needs to deliver healthy beverages that are specifically created for teens. The market is ripe to develop this segment.”
  5. Gastronomically Seasoned Beverages: Health-conscious and foodie consumers relate to ingredients such as sea salt, ginger and turmeric because they not only promise flavor, but also wellness. “We’ve certainly seen some culinary seasonings in beverage recipes, and we’ll see more and more of these types of ingredients pronounced in healthy beverages, the product label and in marketing materials,” said Jage. “Seasonings will also play a more important role in drink recipes as we trend toward bolder flavors. … For those that drink a meal but dislike chalky protein shakes, these types of beverages will be appealing.”
  6. Healthy, Better-tasting Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Coffee Beverages: While RTD coffees have been around for some time, more specialty brands are being billed as low-calorie, enhanced and all-natural. The industry’s challenge in building this trend is that of taste. “Most of the consumer market that buys RTD coffees wants sweet flavor and a full mouthfeel,” explained Jage. “Healthy RTDs usually don’t deliver, so manufacturers that focus on true, healthier RTD coffees will emerge victorious and dominate in this space.”
  7. Healthy and Simple Lemonade Beverages: Simple lemonade drinks are poised to surge in 2013-2014. “This year, we will all be reminded of the health benefits of pure lemons --- high in antioxidants, aids digestion, rich in dietary fiber,” enumerated Jage. “As our meals in 2013-2014 incorporate richer flavors and spices, lemonade’s sour profile will refresh our palate and, if made with real lemon, detox our body. Watch for more lemonade beverages over the course of the year.”