With two-thirds of consumers interested in natural products, opportunities remain for healthy soft drinks

Soft drinks with mental health benefits are a missed opportunity in North America

As global consumers’ attitudes towards soft drinks grow increasingly negative due to their high levels of sugar, calories, and ‘artificial’ ingredients, new opportunities are arising for companies to diversify their portfolios, according to GlobalData, a recognized leader in providing business information and analytics.

The company’s latest report states that healthy, ‘clean’ and functional soft drinks are in demand, with 89% of global consumers finding general health and wellbeing claims appealing in food and drink products. These consumers are seeking convenient ways to improve their personal wellbeing and live a more holistic lifestyle, without cutting soft drinks completely out of their diet. In this way, manufacturers must reduce sugar and calorie content, use plant-based sugar alternatives, and enrich products with essential vitamins and minerals to appeal to modern consumers.

Melanie Felgate, Senior Consumer Analyst for GlobalData, explains: “The sugar backlash, concerns around artificial ingredients, and a desire for a ’cleaner’ lifestyle are driving demand for beverages that are deemed ’better for you’ than regular soft drinks. Consequently, manufacturers must reduce sugar content and offer products with functional benefits, such as promoting gut and digestive health, to appeal to consumers seeking healthier products that are still similar to traditional soft drinks.”

One such example is Karma Probiotics Wellness Water, a product developed in the US which claims to contain a patented ingredient providing up to 10 times as much digestive health-promoting live culture than probiotic yoghurt.

Additionally, on-pack credentials such as logos and certificates, and popular health claims like ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ will further appeal to the 66% of global consumers interested in food and drink products with ‘natural claims’, which should be supported by the inclusion of health-enhancing natural ingredients and flavorings such as ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.

Felgate concludes: “It is imperative that soft drinks manufacturers better utilize health trends in order to compete in the market. Effective targeting will help brands to remain relevant to consumers’ changing preferences and shopping habits in this highly competitive space. This is highlighted by the 59% of global consumers who believe that they are often or always influenced by how soft drinks impact their health when choosing products.

“The sugar backlash and rising health-consciousness have hit a critical point where ’better for you’ has transitioned from desirable to necessity.”

– Information based on GlobalData’s report: Top Trends in Soft Drinks 2017.

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