Consumer demand for craft soda brands, which are often flavored and naturally sweetened with fruit, is crowding out traditional soda products that are high in sugar or synthetic sugar alternatives. Beverage manufacturers at the 2017 Winter Fancy Foods Show in San Francisco believe that this beverage space is heating up, according to BevNet.
Better-for you was the overriding theme of most of the beverage newcomers at WFFS, with companies touting ingredients lists that include items like real ginger or citrus.
Unique flavor combinations were another dominant trend. Brian Pear, the CEO of Sipp – a line of organic sodas — said that each of his products feature three flavors that consumers can actually taste and distinguish when they drink the product.
The word "craft" is most often associated with beer in the beverage space, but craft soda has seen a healthy rise in consumer interest and sales as of late.
Beverage "craftologists” are working with fruits, veggies and other out-of-the-ordinary soda ingredients to produce beverages that are less sugar-enhanced, more naturally healthy and often more pricey than traditional sodas. And consumers are willing to pay more for these healthier craft products.
Traditional sodas are losing favor and shelf space as the public becomes more leery of products centered on sugar and added sugars, reflected by the strong support local taxes on sugary beverages recently received.
Some of the craft drinks at WFFS call themselves soda. Other's don't — possibly in the hope that their beverages will be associated with premium sparkling and flavored bottled waters, which have seen major growth in the past year. Still, all of the products at the show mad some type of health claim, either touting all-natural ingredients or an organic label — effectively separating themselves from associations to Big Soda.
The true test of whether the public will or won't buy these claims – and these beverage products – will be how successful these brands are at getting their messages out. Social media is a great way to advertise health products to consumers, as younger demographics often turn to Instagram and Pinterest to learn about and share images, information and reviews of new products.