From an increased interest in wellness to growing concerns over the planet’s wellbeing, consumers’ habits are changing, and that includes a shift in the beverages they choose. Shoppers are paying more attention to drink labels, packaging, and the stories behind the drinks they consume.
Manufacturers have taken note of these trends and adjusted accordingly, both to survive and stay ahead.
As we roll out to the end of 2021 and look into 2022, many of these trends are set to continue. Looking beyond the pandemic, it is likely that some of these preferences will still remain, as consumers shape new habits and lifestyles.
Here, we list the top beverage demands among consumers and how manufacturers are responding.
“Natural ingredients and wellness are driving forces in some of the biggest trends we see across all categories,” Bill Meissner, President and CMO of Splash Beverage Group, told The Epoch Times.
Customers are reaching for healthy drinks such as plant-based waters and functional beverages that contain minerals, vitamins, probiotics, and other health-related ingredients.
In 2020, retail sales of refrigerated kombucha and other fermented drinks increased by 21 percent, according to Interket Alchemy.
Packaging that communicates the benefits in an authentic way also rings true to prospective customers who are quick to read the fine print.
Drinks To Go
With an increased demand for takeout meals and food delivery, diners are seeking ways to consume their favorite beverages in a convenient way at home.
For alcoholic drinks, Meissner said, “It appears the relaxed regulations allowing on-premise operators to provide wine to go during the pandemic is here to stay.”
Splash specializes in the manufacturing, distribution, and sales and marketing of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages across multiple channels. Splash’s Copa de Vino brand is a single-serve wine that comes in a recyclable container. The single-serve feature makes it suitable for carryout, curb-side, and delivery services.
From eco-friendly packaging to minimal waste in processes, shoppers are eager to see what companies are doing to maintain—and improve—the Earth.
GoodSport, a sports drink that includes nutrient-rich portions of milk, sources its main ingredient, ultra-filtered deproteinized milk, in a sustainable way.
Through the process of ultrafiltration, the components of milk are separated. Dairy companies often use the protein from milk for cheese and other products. GoodSport takes the part left behind and uses it to make a hydration drink.
“By rescuing and upcycling our main ingredient, we improve the value of the food chain and contribute to sustainability efforts,” Michelle McBride, founder of GoodSport, told The Epoch Times.
Quest for Lower Sugar
As customers’ nutrition plans and eating habits call for less sugar, many are carefully reading ingredient lists to spot how many grams of sugar are in each serving.
“GoodSport has three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks with 33 percent less sugar,” McBride said. The low sugar levels, combined with ingredients from only natural sources, has led to positive feedback.
“Athletes, from beginners to professionals, have been telling us that they feel a real difference when drinking GoodSport,” McBride said.
Seeking the Source
Before taking a sip, consumers want to know where the ingredients for their beverage came from.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages such as tequila, this means knowing where the agave, its main ingredient, originated.
“For SALT Tequila, we can identify the actual farm where the blue agave was harvested for each lot,” Meissner said. The brand was created by a family of third generation tequila masters in Jalisco, Mexico.
For Copa di Vino, “We source wines exclusively from vineyards in the Columbia Valley and California that can certify their entire supply chain,” Meissner said.
With a shift to working at home and celebrating special events in different ways, consumers have sought changes to elevate in-home experiences, and that includes a preference toward beverages that hold premium features.
O-I Glass, a manufacturer of beverage glass bottles for the world’s top consumer packaged goods, from iconic beer bottles to mason jars, launched the Drinktainer in the spring of 2021.
“The Drinktainer™ gives you the ultimate drinking experience, with a wide mouth opening to combine the convenience of a glass bottle with the sensory consumption experience of a drinking glass,” Christine Labardee, leader of marketing communications at O-I, told The Epoch Times.
“It uses a RipCap closure, and withstands carbonation and preserves the contents for a refreshing beverage every time.”
Going forward, as competition picks up and prices increase, it will become increasingly important to deliver customers what they are seeking in terms of nutrition, quality, and experience.
“Manufacturers must respect consumer demands for healthy products that are made from natural ingredients and backed by science,” McBride said. “We will continue to listen to customers and create products to fit their lifestyles that they can trust.”