The beverage industry has seen a marked trend away from sugar sweetened soft drinks. This downturn as well as the current pandemic has impacted the beverage portfolio in the region. There has been a trend shift where sugar-based beverages are losing sales while diet, sugar free beverages are being favoured. The overall net sales of packaged products remain similar, but the shift is in the type of beverage consumed.
If we look at consumption in the home which is increasing and the trend in the non-alcoholic beverage industry shows very different consumer habits this year. Some categories have benefitted while others have not. In previous years fruit-based smoothies were on the increase while traditional juices were on the decline. Since there is now reduced consumption outside the household and people having meals at home the smoothie market has declined by 10.7% while juices are in the incline around 7%. Cola and Cola mix drinks have increased by 6% and energy drinks up by a whopping 23% in household consumption. Mixers like bitters, tonic, ginger beer, soda are also seeing an increasing trend as homeowners try to get that cocktail bar feel to beverages at home.
Another area of growth are drink syrups as consumers use home carbonators such as SodaStream and Aldi's Sud, carbonated water taps like Zip also help to boost this sector. More and more syrup flavours are available in supermarkets, with some of the industry leaders even packaging their leading brands not just in final beverage format but in just a syrup concentrate.
Beverages like mineral water, spritzers and flavoured waters and sports drinks have seen a significant decline, this could be attributed to the reduction in team-based sports activities and drastic changes in our free time behaviour.
Today soft drinks are not just supposed to taste good, but they must also have a health benefit to keep the consumer engaged. New soft drinks should not only be free of what are deemed unhealthy ingredients, but they should actively promote health and mental well-being in the ingredients they do include. Beverages that have functional ingredients like protein drinks from vegetable or plant-based sources. Special drinks that help with sleep, digestion, concentration, memory, general health that must meet the now health-conscious consumers.
The demand for high quality plant-based ingredients from nature goes hand in hand with new demands from consumers who are not as brand loyal as they were in the past. Natural preservatives and sweeteners are clearly preferred over artificial colours and flavours. Soft drinks with plant extracts and juices with little or no processed ingredients make up the new magic formula for profit. Products come and go in short term trends current examples are Coconut water and Kombucha. The key though is making a product with these types of ingredients that tastes good and that the consumer will engage with long term.