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.