Soft drinks with natural ingredients seen as healthier: study
- More than half (57%) of U.S. adults believe natural ingredients in carbonated soft drinks make them healthier than soft drinks with artificial ingredients, according to a report from Mintel. Plus, 34% of consumers would like to see carbonated soft drinks with added benefits, such as protein, vitamins, or minerals.
- Mintel believes the craft and natural soft drink segments are set to grow. The percentage of Americans who drink craft sodas increased from 30% in 2014 to 34% in 2015, with millennials and parents leading the way. Of the 66% of adults who don't currently drink craft sodas, 44% want to try craft products, but price is often a hindering factor. Natural soft drinks, which 40% of consumers now drink, again led by parents and millennials, show a similar trend.
- Parents are more than twice as likely as non-parents to drink craft or natural soda. 50% of these parents indicate that natural or real ingredients are important to them. Another factor is that when consumers become parents, many look for non-alcoholic beverage alternatives.
Soft drink sales have been declining for years with concerns about high-sugar content and artificial sweeteners. Natural and naturally sweetened carbonated soft drinks position themselves as a healthier alternative to regular and diet sodas. However, they still contain sugar, unlike seltzer, which is also a growing market.
"The definition of health is changing from desiring low/no-fat and -sugar, to ‘real’ or unadulterated ingredients. Natural and craft brands tend to feature ingredients in more natural forms, to position products as a better-for-you option," said Elizabeth Sisel, Beverage Analyst at Mintel. "Craft and natural sodas also provide new flavor experiences, including blends of fruits, spices and herbs, while hitting naturally sweetened and premium ingredient trends."