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Alternative Beverage Sector Grows

20 Jan Roots

Over the last twenty years, consumer tastes and preferences has shifted considerably. Consumers today are looking for more from their beverages than a sugary pick-me-up. The modern consumer is looking for a functional beverage, which is healthy yet exotic. Past studies, however, could have all but predicted the way that this trend would play out in the marketplace.

 

In an article by BevNet, which discusses the popularity of alternative beverages, sports drinks, energy drinks, ready-to-drink teas, and juice are listed as popular alternative beverages.

Athletic performance and sports nutrition have been studied more thoroughly since Gatorade was first developed. Today’s sports minded consumers are looking for hydration, nutrition and fuel. Now there are more supplements than ever to help enhance sports performance, but not all of these have been incorporated into a popular wellness drink.

 

One of the most well-known alternative beverages is the energy drink. Over the last decade, energy drinks have grown 32% annually. Currently, the energy drink market is expected to grow 6%, energy drinks are expected to remain relevant in our evermore fast-paced world. Natural energy may be the next biggest sector for growth in this market, as many consumers outside of the traditional energy drink target market (dads and baby boomers) are looking for a less harmful product to enhance their natural energy.

 

Ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and coffee are another emerging segment of the alternative beverage market. The RTD tea and coffee industry is expected to grow around 4% this year to around $8.1B. Although Snapple was the first popular RTD, Arizona is responsible for opening the market for a wider variety of products. As consumer awareness of tea’s health benefits has increased, so too have the number of competitors in the industry.

 

Since the New Age beverage movement, many of the largest juice companies have been acquired by larger beverage firms (Coca-Cola and Pepsi). Today, traditional juices may be losing marketshare to new, premium juices. With the rise of juiceries in major cities across the US, juice manufacturing companies are struggling to keep up by utilizing new manufacturing processes, such as HPP and aseptic filling.

The rise of alternative beverages was not unexpected. However, the products which have arisen as a result of this trend were anything but. As beverage companies look ahead, the future of alternative beverages is bright. Consumers are more open to new tastes now than ever before.

 

To learn more about alternative beverages, read the BevNet article.

Nutrient Found in Shellfish and Beets May Enhance Athletic Performance

6 Aug

According to Darin Ezra, a beverage consultant at Power Brands, adding a particular nutrient found in beets and shellfish to a sports drink could potentially enhance athletic performance.

In the U.K., research from Exeter University in the past has shown beetroot juice to have such an effect, due to its rather potent nitrate levels. Recently, scientists have been looking more into “betaine,” another nutrient. In New York, researchers at Ithaca College have determined that when added to a sports drink in tablet or powder form, betaine can improve athletic performance by nearly six-percent.

Sixteen cyclists of university age, both men and women, participated in the study. They were tested three separate times to measure the effects of the betaine beverages on their performance. According to Darin Ezra, maximum peak power was of particular interest in the study.

A relatively simple recipe was used by the team: 2.5 grams of betaine dissolved in a 20-ounce sports drink. Participants drank half of the beverage in the morning, and the other half in the afternoon.

The researchers reported that after just one week of betaine supplementation, mean and peak anaerobic power both increased, compared to baseline measures, by about 5.5%.

Thomas Swensen led the study, which is currently available online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

“Betaine may contribute to creatine synthesis, which improves strength, power and short-term performance,” he said. “Future research should elucidate the mechanism of how betaine supplementation improves performance.”

Previous studies reviewed by Darin Ezra have also shown bananas to be beneficial to a person’s athletic performance in a way similar to beets. Snacking on bananas, according to some researchers, could potentially boost endurance just as effectively as a sports drink. This particular study, from 2012, was published in the journal “PloS ONE.”