Functionality: The next big frontier in beverage innovation...

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags functional beverage Functional ingredients functional beverages Functional drinks Cannabis Cbd beverage

Functional beverages are a thriving category – but what exactly are consumers looking for in their drinks? From cannabis beverages to ‘think drinks’, hear from a panel of experts as this free-to-attend webinar explores the potential of the category.

Our sister site BeverageDaily is hosting Beverage Innovations​​​ on November 16 to get fresh perspectives from beverage entrepreneurs, incubators and market analysts – all of whom have their finger on the pulse of the latest hot topics in the industry.

Hear from cannabis beverage pioneer Truss​ and the entrepreneurs behind ‘think drink’ Nerd Focus​ and first-of-its-kind sports drink GoodSport​: all with market insights and top tips from next-generation beverage incubator L.A. Libations​ and analysts Rabobank​ during the live event.

From flavor to functionality

There’s no doubt functionality will play in increasingly large role in tomorrow's beverage market. But knowing exactly what resonates with consumers is less easy challenges come from a crowded market and economic headwinds. Are consumers on the look out for energy or relaxation? Are they looking for fortification or functionality? And how can brands convey the science between functional ingredients and justify a higher price point?

The key to product development is knowing which innovations have a real chance for success - and which gimmicks won't live up to expectations. These experts will be giving us their insights into the category...

Meet the panel​​

First-of-its-kind sports drink GoodSport​​ ​​('naturally powerful hydration') launched in 2021, turning the category on its head by drawing on an unlikely hero ingredient: milk.

Zach Hotle, Chief Operating Officer of the company, will take us through how the Chicago-based brand has been building the brand – as well as drawing on his experience in helping entrepreneurs and investors launch and scale brand (his prior experience includes work with Nike, Red Bull, Neuro drinks and Limitless (acquired by KDP)).

Also carving out a new category is Nerd Focus​​​, the world’s first ‘think drink’ and the first energy drink of its kind formulated to increase clarity and concentration.

Co-founder Rocco LaVista will be on our panel to highlight the consumer need states the brand is tapping into – as well as drawing on his expertise as founder and CEO of Gurkha Consulting, a business consultancy specializing in start-ups and small companies.

When Canada legalized cannabis edibles in 2019, Truss Beverage Co​​​ was at the forefront of getting a host of completely new products to market. And it still is – the joint venture between Molson Coors Canada and cannabis producer HEXO Corp is the top selling cannabis brand in Canada with a portfolio of CBD and THC brands to appeal to a wide range of consumers.

Melanie Smith, innovation lead at Truss, will tell us why 2022 is a year of ‘category-defining product development’ ​​for the company: giving the inside track on how to identify good innovation in a category that’s quickly evolving.

Bonnie Shah, CMO at next-generation beverage incubator L.A. Libations​​​ (known for its work with ZOA, Molson Coors, Shaka Tea and many others) will also be on our panel to give her top tips to entrepreneurs – as well as drawing on her background in communications, consumer behavior and marketing.

And Jim Watson, Senior Analyst Beverages at Rabobank​​​, will be able to give us the macro view on where entrepreneurs are making inroads – and where big brands hold the key to carving out categories.  

The free-to-attend Beverage Innovations takes place on November 16 at 11am CST / Chicago (register to add the event to your calendar in your time zone). ​​

As the audience, you'll have the chance to submit your questions live to our panelists. 

Alternatively, submit your questions when you register and you can catch up on demand after the event. 


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