Over the last few years, consumer awareness about the environment and climate change has caused many beverage companies to go green and implement eco-friendly practices. According to Mintel, in 2010 more than one-third of all survey respondents siad that they would spend more money for environmentally friendly products. One result of this trend is that still bottled water sales have stagnated in recent years, due to their extensive use of plastic bottles which are non-biodegradable. The largest category of bottled water is the functional water category, which make up over 80% of the entire sales for 2013. However, the sector has still experienced negative growth. In response, major brands, such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and Nestle Waters have introduced eco-friendly packaging and promoted water as a healthy beverage alternative. For example, many of these brands teamed up with First Lady Michelle Obama for her ‘Drink Up’ campaign.
In particular, Coca-Cola introduced its PlantBottle for Dasani. The PlantBottle is made from 30% PET resin from sugarcane and the company has plans to released bottles made completely out of plant-based materials. Another alternative to PET is PEF (polyethylene furanoate). The company has also experimented with an ice bottle, which would melt away after consumption. While the ice bottle is only available in Columbia, these bottles are not expected to be released in the US. Coca-Cola’s biggest competitor is Nestle Waters. Last year, Nestle released its “ReBorn” water bottle made from 50% recycled (rPET). Similarly, PepsiCo recently announced its 100% renewable bottle made from plant-based resources in 2011. The bottle utilizes bio-based raw materials such as pine bark, corn husks, and switch grass.
While the bottled water category has experienced low growth, eco-friendly packaging has helped multiple brands to increase bottled water sales. While more research is necessary in the production of bottles made from recycled materials, this sector is expected to grow in importance in the coming years.
A new beverage brand, Twist, combines RTD coffee and whey protein in an innovative drink concept. According to the company’s CEO, Gavin Beck, the beverage industry needed a more user friendly option when it came to RTD coffee. The product has a 250ml PET bottle and a unique filter which stops any lumps from forming when the water is added. The company believes that its first adopters will likely be athletes and fitness experts who already know about the benefits of protein. Given that protein has become increasingly popular as a functional beverage, the company could experience more popularity than it ever thought possible.
The beverage contains 90 calories, 17g protein, and 73mg caffiene. Similar to iced coffee, the beverage could be used as a morning pick-me-up or as an afternoon snack. While the company has come up with an ingenious product to say the least, there are some questions as to how adverse consumers will be to adding water to the beverage and whether or not this will impede some consumers altogether. However, the company hopes that protein’s growing popularity will benefit their product.
To learn more, read this article from Beverage Daily.
Coconut water is no longer the tropical mystic beverage that it was in the past. Over the past five years, coconut water has attained mainstream appeal as the number of coconut water launches has grown by 540 percent. Coconut water, which is not water but coconut juice, has lower calories and carbohydrates than traditional fruit juices. Coconut water brands have expanded beyond the tradition plain flavor to new flavors, such as tropical fruits and smoothie blends. Coconut water may even have a use as a low-calorie base for fruit drinks. According to the Mayo Clinic, coconut water has more potassium, sodium, magnesium, and calcium than other juices. Coconut water also contains a lot of electrolytes, which make it a good alternative to high-sugar & high sodium sports drinks.
Since 2012, the number of coconut waters released in the US has increased by 92 percent. Coconut water launches in the US made up 34 percent of total launches, but Europe was close behind with around 32 percent of all launches. While Asia strugged with a mere 14 percent of all launches, Latin America saw a decline from 61 percent in 2008 to only 16 percent in 2013. In the US, coconut water is typically marketed towards affluent athletes. However, since coconut water’s distribution has expanded from health food stores to convenience stores and retail markets, the consumer base for coconut water has expanded. The coconut water sector is expected to continue to grow into the mainstream, as several big beverage name brands have already acquired coconut water companies of their own (eg Coca-Cola’s Zico & PepsiCo’s O.N.E.).
To learn more about coconut water, read this article from BevIndustry.
Over two-thirds of the US population is overweight. Although over 57 percent of Americans believe that they, not food manufacturers, are responsible for their weight and eating decisions, food and beverage companies still have an interest in providing healthy options which make it easier for consumers to manage their weight. As the decreasing popularity of diet sodas should show, reducing calories is not the only solution for weight management. Outside of low-fat and low-sugar options, functional beverages are experiencing increased demand from health-conscious consumers. Nutraceutical companies, such as InterHealth Nutraceuticals and Icon Group LLC, have begun to create ingredients to assist in weight loss. For example, InterHealth Nutraceuticals two solutions for weight management beverages: Super CitriMax and ChromeMate. Super CitriMax promotes weight management by increasing satiety, inhibiting fat production, and suppressing appetite. ChromeMate aides in weight loss by increasing fat loss, maintaining a lean body mass and balancing blood sugar levels. Similarly, Icon Group LLC has several weight management ingredients, including WellTrimiG, a patented African mango seed extract that has been proven to decrease weight and improve the function of leptin.
The weight management industry is expected to reach $650.9 billion in 2015. For the beverage industry, weight management ingredients are only expected to grow in importance. However, weight loss is not the only concern that the beverage industry should focus on. Namely, beverage companies should offer products which appeal to the specifics of weight management, including: increased satiety, cutting calories without sacrificing taste, and offering healthier alternatives. To learn more about this trend, read this informative article by BevIndustry.
For most consumers, their ocular health is no longer what it used to be. However, there are measures which people can take to improve their eye sight or protect it from any damage that age or wear & tear could cause. Namely, people’s nutritional health can prevent eye health degradation. Similar to the rise of antioxidant-rich products for heart health, products should emerge which benefit the eyes by including ingredients, such as: Lutein, Vitamin A, antioxidants, Zinc, Selenium, Bilberry, Ginkgo, Green Tea, and Grape Seed Extract.
For more information about eye health and beverage products, read this article on BevIndustry.com.
Bai 5 is a growing contender in the functional beverage category. After experiencing over 400% growth in 2013 alone, it’s clear that the company got something right. Bai 5 offers a healthy beverage with only 5 calories and a great taste. Flavored with coffee fruit, 1g of sugar and 4% fruit juice content, the beverage doesn’t sacrifice calories for great taste. Yet, the brand would never feature ‘low-calorie’ or ‘diet’ on the packaging. Rather than boasting about their products great benefits, the company has slowly but surely been converting customers into Bai-lievers.
Bai 5 has recently secured a distribution deal with Doctor Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG). Bai 5 has a lot to offer DPSG’s portfolio, which is currently losing in the non-carbonated sector in the US. While many are convinced that Pepper will consider buying a stake in Bai 5, the company’s founder, Ben Weiss, is not so sure. “That’s not the nature of the relationship today. They are our distribution partner, we’re going to increase the brand’s distribution across the US in a fairly aggressive manner.”
One of the biggest consumer trends of the last decade has been the rise of artisan goods. Everything from beer to bread and sodas have been uniquely crafted on the small scale. Consumers often prefer these artisan goods, especially if locally produced, because they believe that they are of higher quality than a traditional good. Because of this, artisan goods, especially gourmet sodas, have been increasing in popularity.
Despite the overall soda slump, gourmet soda companies have been popping up consistently over the years. These companies, which have been known to use sugar substitutes or natural sweeteners and even incorporate alternative beverages, such as teas and juices, tend to focus on alternative branding. Artisan sodas tend to capture shoppers in one of two places: natural and specialty stores or in restaurants and bars. Consumers can enjoy gourmet sodas with a meal or without, but most importantly, without the guilt. Gourmet sodas afford customers greater taste, higher quality, and healthier ingredients. As such, gourmet sodas may only be just now gaining traction and they are expected to grow in popularity in the coming years.
To learn more about this beverage trend, read this BevNet article on gourmet beverages.