Bright future for beverages? Why functional drinks are likely to grow post-pandemic

 In Nutritional Outlook, Press

Much of the healthy drinks market saw extended growth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of growing consumer interest in health and immunity.

Consumers are now prioritizing condition-specific benefits in their beverages, and general wellness and hydration claims may no longer be enough to lure them.

What do prospects for healthy beverages look like post-pandemic? The market is likely to embrace a more diverse array of functions. And, as consumers get back to their regular routines, product convenience will once again become paramount. Here are some of the emerging trends shaping the market.

Bolstering Beverages

The determination to take ownership of one’s health is driving better-for-you beverages. Consumers’ desire to make healthier choices paved the rise of products like low- and no-alcohol drinks and less-unhealthy soda, points out Erin Costello, communications associate for beverage developer Imbibe (Niles, IL). Expect to see that trend continue.

“Categories with health halos are predicted to experience significant growth,” Costello says. “The American dairy alternatives market has a projected compound annual growth rate of 12.5% from 2021 to 2028, according to Grand View Research. We expect to see most new products positioned as offering more than just hydration.”

Immunity-supporting beverages are especially booming. Market researchers have witnessed a meteoric rise of immune-health beverages, Costello notes, while survey data gathered this year by ingredient supplier Glanbia Nutritionals (Chicago) showed that 46% of consumers are interested in beverages naturally high in immune-health ingredients. Meanwhile, 30% are seeking beverages fortified with such ingredients.

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