Additive-free leads beverage launches, says Mintel

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Mintel

The top claims used on beverages over the past four years reveal a distinct shift in focus towards drinks with no additives or preservatives, according to statistics provided by Mintel this morning.

Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD), which tracks all new product launches, found that ‘No Additives/Preservatives’ has been the top claim made on new drinks launched in Europe for two consecutive years.

In 2007, the market researcher tracked 925 new beverages that made this claim, and a search on 2008 to date has brought in 920 products.

This is a major leap from the 471 additive- and preservative-free products launched in 2006, and the 377 new products of 2005 – when the claim was only the third most frequent beverage label claim.

The statistics provided to tracked launches in the following beverage categories: Concentrates, beverage mixes, carbonated soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit/flavoured still drinks, juice, nectars, ready-to-drink coffee, ready-to-drink iced tea, and sports drinks.

Total launches came in at 3,769 in 2008 to date; 3,915 in 2007; 2,920 in 2006; and 2,603 in 2005.

This means the No Additives/Preservatives claim appeared on almost one quarter of all beverage launches in 2008 and 2007, compared to16 percent of launches in 2006, and 14 percent in 2005.

Additives = Bad

The findings reflect the market response to growing consumer concern about the use of additives and preservatives. This received much attention in the mainstream media after the publication of a study last year that linked certain additives to hyperactivity in children.

Conducted by researchers at the University of Southampton in the UK and published in The Lancet​, the study examined the effect of mixes of additives on a range of children aged between three and nine and drawn from general population and across a range of hyperactivity and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) severities.

Mix A contained sunset yellow, tartrazine, carmoisine, ponceau 4R and sodium benzoate. Mix B contained sunset yellow, quinoline yellow, carmoisine, allura red and sodium benzoate.

The European Food Standards Agency did not deem the study as sufficient evidence to alter recommended intake of any of the additives used, mainly because the methodology meant it was impossible to ascribe the effect on any of them in particular.

However there are moves in place to phase out the colours in the UK, and to introduce warning levels at an EU level.

But even without any immediate measures imposed, the extensive media coverage received by the study triggered a consumer shift in purchasing habits, which is now also being reflected in new market offerings.

Other top beverages

The other top claims identified by Mintel include:

· Low/No/Reduced Sugar – 847 launches in 2008, 853 in 2007, 549 in 2006 and 427 in 2005

· Vitamin/Mineral Fortified – 376 launches in 2008, 575 in 2007, 513 in 2006 and 416 in 2005

· Low/No/Reduced Calorie – 300 launches in 2008, 292 in 2007, 247 in 2006 and 210 in 2005

· All Natural – 263 launches in 2008, 313 in 2007, 144 in 2006 and 93 in 2005

Other claims in the top 10 included: ‘Organic’, ‘Children’, ‘Premium’, ‘Environmentally friendly packaging’, ‘Convenient packaging’, and ‘Vegetarian’.

Source: Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).

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