In recent decades, consumers have increasingly demanded functional beverages, those with qualities that require innovation: exciting and unusual flavors with low or no sugar that are measurably good for you. That’s not something that’s accomplished by changing out one set of flavors for another, or just layering them on top of sugar and other ingredients.

Functional beverages, which include protein drinks, fermented drinks, recovery drinks and supplemental drinks, made up 30% of all launches in the first six months of 2022, and their market share sits at $48 billion.

Around 73% of adults say they consume beverages that promote some type of functional benefit, and almost half of the time those beverages are consumed in the morning or between meals — meaning manufacturers can capture mealtime markets and the “on-the-go” purchaser who’s buying something while running errands, finishing up at the gym or as a meal replacement.

Consumers are looking for multiple benefits from functional beverages, including:

  • Hydration
  • Energy boost
  • Digestive aid
  • Relaxation
  • Immunity boost

All of these benefits intersect in the herbal/botanical subset. A single beverage, or group of beverages under a common banner, can be promoted in a variety of ways — a “mix-and-match” approach, such as added vitamins and minerals for overall health and herbal ingredients to help with stress and anxiety. It’s also enlightening to note that more than half of adults say they find a functional beverage more appealing than a supplement to achieve those same results.

From fruit-enhanced water to protein shots, Sensient’s flavor technologists have the ingredients and the imagination to help recreate existing product lines and custom-develop exciting new ones. If you build the right beverage, they will come.

Source: Sensient Primary Research, Mintel GNPD, Social Listening via Tastewise, IWSR, EuroMonitor

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