By Joel Goldstein, president, Mr. Checkout
As more and more consumers continue to adopt a healthier lifestyle, retailers must expand their product offering and meet consumer demand. Over the last few years, consumers have paid closer attention to the food they eat, analyzing every ingredient and worrying more than ever about how it was processed. Now, that focus will turn to the beverage world, creating many of these new trends:
Consumers are well aware that they need to consume more vegetables, but that doesn’t mean they want to actually taste them. Many people are turned off by the expectation that vegetables will have an earthy, bland taste and will turn to new beverages that can incorporate vegetables in a subtle, unnoticeable way. Beverage distributors will offer retailers a variety of smoothies and other fruit drinks that use vegetables, but mask the taste with other natural ingredients.
The rise of coconut water opened the door to a whole new product line within the water industry. In 2016, beverage distributors will focus on bringing new kinds of these waters to retailers to meet the growing consumer demand. A few that have already started to lead the pack include maple water, birch water and watermelon water. Each of these varieties is being marketed as an alternative to water or sports drinks with more flavor and added nutrients.
Over the last year, specialty teas have grown rapidly thanks to matcha tea, which is sold in both retailers and restaurants. Because of its success, beverage distributors can expect continued growth in this category to offer retailers more unique options for their customers. Some flavors that are believed to strike gold in 2016 include dandelion tea, matcha rose and turmeric orange ginger.
Fresh brewed coffee is not new to the beverage world, but the way that it's being used these days certainly is. Many younger consumers enjoy the taste of coffee, and because of this preference, retailers will begin to carry other beverages with coffee flavoring, especially beers. Some restaurants and craft breweries have already hopped onto this trend meaning that manufacturers and retailers will soon follow to meet customer demand.
One of the effects of the growing health trend is the consumer demand for beverages that do more than just quench thirst. These drinks are referred to as functional drinks, and they will continue to grow within the next year. Expect to see more retailers carrying drinks high in protein for post-workout consumption, or beverages designed to aid in digestive health or with strengthening the immune system. These drinks will continue to make their way into the market and replace “refreshing” beverages such as carbonated sodas and sugary sports drinks.