As we say goodbye to 2020 and all the beverage trends that came with it, it is time to set our sights to 2021 and look at how those beverage trends of the past might affect consumer preference in the future. In 2020 the trends saw low and no or low-alcohol, functional drinks, bright colours, exotic flavours, and unique textures all surge as interest in health and wellness reached an all-time high. Consumers began to place a greater emphasis and interest in what they were putting into their bodies and they became ever demanding as a result. Clean label became a necessity rather than a nice to have, as ingredient transparency and provenance became essential for many. We don’t see those going away anytime soon. In fact, 2021 is only going to see these trends amplified as COVID-19 continues to be a factor in our day to day lives.
Plant-based products are no longer a niche market but a mega trend that is going global and is here to stay. Increasing health consciousness and a growing awareness of animal welfare and the environmental concerns around meat production are all fueling this growth. The Asia Pacific region has by far the largest market share for plant-based beverages, however, the growth in veganism over recent years has seen North America become the fastest growing continent to adopt plant-based beverages, with a staggering 600% increase in the vegan population from 2014 – 2019, according to the Vegan Society. We are seeing this trend continue to expand in the beverage world through an explosion of plant-based milks, kombucha, raw pressed juices, tea, and coffee with no animal products added to it.
With advances in personalised medicine which is set to transform healthcare by 2030 we can expect to see this translate into the world of food and beverage and we will see a rise in demand for personalisation in 2021 and beyond. In a recent global survey, 63% of consumers said they were interested in customised beverage products that meet their individual needs. Consumers seek products that fit their personal lifestyle and needs. Key beverage opportunities in this space include juices, water, and energy drinks. Technology is also likely to play a big role and drive customisation for consumers, as we have seen with the success of the Coca Cola Freestyle beverage dispensers & the relaunched PepsiCo Soda Stream.
Immunity is a major concern for 2021, propelled to the forefront of consumers’ minds in a large part by COVID-19. 57% of global consumers say that their health has improved because of consuming food/drink with specific benefits and half say that they choose ‘natural’ food and drinks most of the time. (Global Data). Boosting immunity and gut health through what we eat, and drink is a trend that is becoming firmly established and we expect to see this continue to drive NPD as consumers increasingly demand products that support their health in a tangible way. The role of hydration in maintaining good health and immune-boosting foods that contain high levels of vitamin C, and antioxidants such as citrus fruits, will see an increase in demand as we look to fight off infection. Fusion beverages and blends of fruits and vegetables are also expected to be appeal to the immune conscious consumer. Relaxing flavours, such as lavender, hibiscus, rose, chamomile and honey are trending as consumers seek to boost their holistic health.
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