Functional beverages are just one of many segments driving the fast growing health and wellness category. What do we mean by “functional beverages?” Beverages with some type of added benefit other than hydration, and could include: additional protein (collagen or plant-based proteins); vitamins & minerals; natural energy from caffeine, yerba mate, guava or other natural stimulants; healthy fats such as MCT oils; antioxidants (ie, turmeric, green tea) and even sleep aid micronutrients and botanicals. In a world of almost infinite choices, it’s no longer only about taste. What can you do for me?
Millennials (Generation Y) are leading this trend, but even Generation X and Boomers are showing interest in the power of functional beverages. Hartman Group research shows 62% of all consumers agree “beverages play a very important role in my health and wellness” and 44% agree with the statement “I like my beverages to do something for me, such as provide energy, nutrients or other benefits.” Both resonate more with millennials, with the figures rising to 65% and 55%, respectively. Millennials also are more likely to treat beverages as a snack (49% of millennials vs. 39% of all consumers), as well as consume beverages to replace meals (38% vs. 28%).
We’ll likely see a continued proliferation of drinks that claim to offer all kinds of benefits, especially as exotic flavor combinations and holistic wellness trends continue to grow in interest.