Global study spies functional soft drink shift

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drink Alcoholic beverage

The global market for non-alcoholic beverages will remain dominated by more perceivably healthy soft drink options, amidst a growing population concerned with well being in what they drink, according to a new report.

In the non-alcoholic beverage segment, research group Global Industry Analysts said it expects soft drink innovation to target a growing consumer base keen for a functional kick.

Global growth within the beverage segment is therefore attributed to a shift away from carbonated beverages to products like juices, sports and energy drinks, particularly in young people, the report says,

It is this market where the analyst says demand is brewing for niche segments like ready-to-drink tea and coffee-based beverages, on the back of increasing global availability.

“Coffee is expected to enjoy steady growth as high-quality specialty espresso-based drinks are exceptionally popular with young adults,”​ stated the analyst. “The popularity of tea would be on account of greater awareness of its health benefits, mainly among the baby boomer population.”

Even traditional established soft drink product lines such as juice and soda brand products stand to benefit from the innovation drive towards more functional product varieties, according to the report.

“Growth in the non-alcoholic beverages market comprising of carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, is stimulated by unique product concepts, new brands, flavours and brand extensions of several popular products,”​ stated the analyst.

Already popular functional additions such as vitamins and minerals will be increasingly joined by herbs, nutrients and other emerging compounds in an increasingly global market, the report stated.

Innovation focus

An increasing focus amongst consumers for healthier products will also ensure growth within the bottled water market, particularly in terms of innovation in packaging convenience and flavours.

Similarly, the mature European and North American sports drinks market is also expected to post sales gains for lower sugar, sodium and carbohydrate variations amidst this health drive, according to the report.

Soft drinks grow up

The report adds that another seismic shift expected in the industry will be the focus away from the once core-consumer group of under 14 year olds as an overall ageing population seeks new forms of refreshment.

Carbonated beverages in particular are expected to bare the brunt of these changes due in part to consumer concerns over obesity and well being, Global Industry Analysts said.

Conversely, the report expects fruit juice products to reap the benefits from declines in alcohol consumption on the back of demands for healthier drinks.

“Fruit juices with nutritional orientation and caffeine-free and sugar-free products are continuously being rolled out in the market to attract consumers,”​ the analyst stated.

The analyst conceded that weather conditions have an important role to play on these developments.

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