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Top Trends in Soft Drinks 2017

Top Trends in Soft Drinks 2017

Summary

Concerns around sugar and artificial ingredients, alongside general boredom with traditional beverage options, are driving consumers away from carbonates and juices, towards healthier choices such as bottled water, RTD coffee and tea, and functional options (e.g. energy).

Furthermore, the soft drinks industry is under increasing pressure as consumer spending stagnates, the war on sugar rages on, and consumers increasingly reject artificial alternatives. Trends explored in this research include healthy hydration solutions, the adultification of soft drinks, savory and spicy flavors, and soft drinks with just a hint of flavor or sweetness.

According to Melanie Felgate, Senior Consumer Insight Analyst, GlobalData - Globally, 60% of consumers are always or often influenced by how familiar or trustworthy a product feels when choosing non-alcoholic beverages. And almost half of consumers (48%) globally are actively choosing soft drinks with low or no sugar.

As sugar taxation becomes more prevalent globally (e.g. the UK plan to tax soft drinks from 2018), pressure continues to mount on manufacturers to develop healthy yet exciting drinks to reignite the category and re-engage with consumers. This report identifies several key trends and opportunities to help overcome these challenges.

The report “Top Trends in Soft Drinks 2017” outlines the key consumer and innovation trends currently impacting the core categories in the non-alcoholic beverages sector: bottled water; carbonated drinks; juices and smoothies; energy and sports drinks; and ready-to-drink (RTD) tea and coffee. Trends explored in this research include healthy hydration solutions, the adultification of soft drinks, savory and spicy flavors, and soft drinks with just a hint of flavor or sweetness.

Companies reviewed while writing this report: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple, B4, Honest Tea, OmegaWater, Glaceau, Bulletproof, Suja, Tropicana, Karma Probiotics, KeVita, Seedlip, Mountain Dew, Caliente, Stubborn Soda, Hop Pop Soda, LIFEWTR, Hackamore Premium Energy, Uncle Matt's Cold Pressed Water, Impressed Cold Pressed Juice, Garden of Flavor, Kor Shots, Georgia Coffee, Starbucks, Teavana, La Colombe, Point Blank, Minute Maid, Paper Boat, Ohnly, SunRype, Fanta, Nu Oceana, Hint Water, NuVa, Ugly Unsweet Water, Vivid, Virtue Energy Water, Verday, Belvoir Botanicals, Buddha Water, H2Rose, HappyTree, Malk, 137 Degrees

Scope

  • Globally, 60% of consumers are always or often influenced by how familiar or trustworthy a product feels when choosing non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Almost half of consumers (48%) globally are actively choosing soft drinks with low or no sugar.
  • Consumers are more willing to experiment with new product varieties when buying more generic beverages such as bottled water and RTD coffee/tea, than beverages that serve a functional purpose like energy and sports drinks.
Reasons to buy
  • Identify the top trends driving the soft drinks sector.
  • Gain insight into the key consumer segments that are most likely to be a key focus for innovation.
  • Put innovative products into context by connecting them to specific consumer trends and needs.
  • Gain insight and inspiration for innovation.


  • Introduction
    • GlobalData has identified seven key trends impacting innovation in soft drinks
    • The TrendSights trends that are driving growth in soft drinks are pinpointed below
    • Recommended key innovation platforms across each soft drink trend
    • Carbonates is the largest segment by value, bottled water by volume
    • The soft drinks industry faces many overriding challenges
    • Soft drink purchases are driven by familiarity, sensory attributes, and health
    • Most soft drinks consumers are willing to experiment with new products at least sometimes
  • Trend 1: Healthy Hydration
    • Addressing the need for healthier soft drinks that are good, or better, for you
    • Healthy beverage innovation is now an essential feature of soft drink brand portfolios
    • Health is one of the key drivers influencing purchasing behavior for soft drinks
    • Examples we like: innovation in healthy soft drinks
    • Implications of the Healthy Hydration trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 2: Gut Happy
    • Probiotic beverages are coming to the fore to address digestive health concerns
    • Digestive health is one of the key health benefits consumers are most interested in
    • Probiotics and fermentation offer strong potential in the soft drinks space
    • Examples we like: soft drinks that support digestive health
    • Implications of the Gut Happy trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 3: Adultification
    • Tailoring soft drinks to "adult" tastes and drinking occasions
    • Alcohol avoidance is driving demand for more sophisticated soft drinks that fill the void
    • Examples we like: alcohol alternatives targeting traditional drinking occasions
    • Examples we like: sophisticated soft drinks
    • Implications of the Adultification trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 4: Cold is Hot
    • From "cold-pressed" to "cold-brewed": brands are capitalizing on cold methods
    • "Cold" is gaining ground as a positive descriptor for soft drinks
    • Examples we like: cold-pressed methods are infiltrating juices and beyond
    • Examples we like: cold is also hot in tea and coffee
    • Implications of the Cold is Hot trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 5: Savory and Spice
    • Savory and spicy flavors are trending as consumers reject sugar and sweetness
    • Savory and spicy flavors address a desire for less sweet, and sugary, options
    • Examples we like: spicy flavors are appearing across soft drink segments
    • Examples we like: savory and salty flavors are emerging as consumers seek less sugar
    • Implications of the Savory and Spice trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 6: Take the Hint
    • Using subtle flavors to disrupt the blandness of plain water without sugar or sweeteners
    • Consumers want unsweet options as sugar and sweetener concerns rise
    • Case study: Hint Water
    • Examples we like: a hint of flavor without the sweetness
    • Implications of the Take the Hint trend across different soft drink categories
  • Trend 7: Plant Power
    • Soft drink brands are capitalizing on demand for plant-based diets with botanicals and herbs
    • Capitalize on the healthy and natural halo associated with plants and botanicals
    • Examples we like: plant-based beverages
    • Examples we like: plant-based ingredients are replacing dairy in RTD tea and coffee
    • Implications of the Plant Power trend across different soft drink categories
  • The Future
    • Future opportunities for soft drinks
  • Appendix
    • Methodology

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