Beverage categories are getting blurrier, Mintel report suggests

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Energy & water, juice & tea, spider ciders: Hybrids offer new flavor experiences. Pic:iStock
Energy & water, juice & tea, spider ciders: Hybrids offer new flavor experiences. Pic:iStock

Related tags Drink Coffee functional beverage beverage

A recent Mintel report shows cross-category beverages have become increasingly popular as manufacturers look to cater for consumers’ health and wellness demands, as well as their cravings for new flavor experiences.

Cross-category beverages, aka beverage blurring, combines two or more drink categories, explains the report’s author, Elizabeth Sisel.

She said those new fusion drinks blend flavors and functionality, which make them fall under multiple categories.

Great success at retail

Sisel said some beverages are experiencing great success at retail as they combine popular categories with on-point trends.

“Energy combined with trending categories, like coffee and water, perform well at multi-outlet channels as consumers look for functional drinks in new flavorful formats that support their busy lifestyles,” ​she said.

The report also says drinks that highlight natural and health trends through unique blends generate positive feedback as consumers search for new ways to drink to improve their health.

Cross-category drinks may cause confusion

Despite the growing popularity of cross-category drinks, they can cause unintentional confusion at time of purchase, and confusing products risk consumers passing by, according to the report.

“When it comes to new beverages, consumers look for cues on the front of label and product placement at retail to understand what a product is,”​ Sisel said.

“The lack of unanimous placement demonstrates the issues manufacturers and retailers face when positioning drinks at retail.”

“Clear positioning can help consumers make a decision for trial,”​ she added.

Ways to market cross-category drinks

Sisel suggests manufacturers will have to make an extra effort to highlight a fusion drink’s healthy and natural qualities, and help consumers easily identify new launches and keep them from feeling overwhelmed.

“Attaching drinks to particular drinking occasions may be one way to increase awareness and familiarity,”​ she said.

“Consumers may be more likely to try a new drink, particularly one that is cross-category or heavy in flavor or functional innovation, if they can associate it with a particular activity or feeling.”

In addition, Sisel said free product trial is the top way to get consumers interested in a new beverage.

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