- Ingredients company Kerry released its Botanicals Collection Zero, a line of botanical extracts with 0% ethanol designed for use in low- and non-alcoholic beverages, according to a release sent to Food Dive.
- The extracts include juniper, rosebud, elderflower, turmeric and cinnamon. Each botanical is fully traceable, clean label, halal certified and kosher suitable. It also does not have haze or sedimentation.
- In addition, Kerry offers fusion distillates, a process that magnifies the botanical taste using a period of slow maturation, that the company can blend to suit specific markets and regional tastes.
Low and non-alcoholic beverages have come into vogue in recent years as consumers choose to cut out alcohol for a variety of reasons. Kerry said in its release that the low-alcohol spirits or no-alcohol beverages market is expected to increase 41% between 2015 and 2021.
Data from Innova Insights cited by Food Ingredients First supports the observation that adding botanicals is a growing segment that is here to stay. The market analysis company tracked a 21% compound annual growth rate growth between 2015 and 2019 for alcoholic beverages released with botanical flavorings.
While Kerry decided to release the new product line during the pandemic, it likely realizes companies are still working on new products to position themselves for future growth. A survey from food innovation lab Mattson indicated that innovation is still going strong, with two-thirds of manufacturers working on new concepts and 65% working on new products. Not only are companies pushing forward with innovation, but consumers are ready to give new products a try now that their pantries are stocked with staples. Mattson showed 58% of consumers said they will immediately be ready to purchase new products.
This desire for new offerings could play out as alcohol sales alone have spiked by 27% since March 7, according to Nielsen data cited by CNN. The beer category, in particular, has been struggling in recent years as consumers have looked to Mexican brews, crafts, spiked seltzers and other offerings. In response, alcohol manufacturers have produced more low- or no-alcohol beverages as they try to lure back people, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Large brewers such as Constellation Brands and AB InBev have rolled out their own lower-calorie beers at higher prices to seize a slice of the premium market. Heineken launched its 0.0% MAXX in 2017. Guinness owner Diageo has Open Gate Pure Brew, and Carlsberg has been making no-alcohol beers since 2015. AB InBev added four no- and low-alcohol craft beers to its portfolio in January. Adam Warrington, AB InBev's vice president of corporate social responsibility, said the company plans to have 20% of its global beer volumes coming from no- and low-alcohol beers by 2025.
While beer has successfully marketed to this demographic, lower-alcohol wines are struggling for market share and spirits have been dinged for tastes that are inferior to the full-alcohol equivalent. Kerry is aiming to change that perception with this new range of botanicals.
“Consumer expectations are currently not being met by mocktails and other no-alcohol options due to the fact that products often resemble juices rather than alcohol," Michel Aubanel, flavor ingredients global development manager for Kerry. "Increasingly, consumers want the upscale experience of the glass, ice and taste, but without the alcohol content."
The featured flavors from Kerry indicate these aromatics are aimed at spirits makers. In the press release, the company called out its botanicals for use by beverage producers looking for no-alcohol options that taste like gin and rum. Other options could be used to craft liqueurs or whiskeys. Its new product offerings also address other issues that are important to consumers like traceability and clean label, increasing their appeal to beverage manufacturers.
As 0.0% alcohol becomes more sophisticated in its flavor profiles, there will likely be more interest in trying these concoctions, both from the sober curious and those who eschew alcohol altogether. U.S. bottled low- and no-alcohol beverages are projected to jump about 32% between 2018 and 2022 — three times their growth in the previous five years — according to IWSR data cited by Bon Appetit.