Food trends toward natural ingredients — like fruits and vegetables — and better-for-you items are becoming more prevalent in beverages, pushing manufacturers to introduce more niche flavors and natural caffeine sources, according to a report in Food Ingredients First.
Kombucha, which is a fermented tea with several health benefits, is one of the stars in the beverage trend, with manufacturers combining the bubbly drink with juice.
Cold-brew coffee, made from raw and natural ingredients, is also a key beverage trend. The drink has been successful both in coffee shops in the United States, as well as in RTD form in grocery stores.
With consumers clamoring for healthier options, it isn't surprising that the trend is coming to their beverages. After decreasing popularity because of its high sugar content, juice is getting to be more of a beverage of choice. A juice or beverage made with natural ingredients is fresh, perceived as healthy, and convenient to drink on the go for nutritional benefits. And with manufacturers formulating these juices with added beneficial ingredients, like probiotics, the expected popularity surges even more.
Not only are better-for-you beverages on trend, but they're also ways that legacy companies are trying to expand into new markets. PepsiCo has been rumored to be in a deal worth less than $500 million to acquire KeVita, which is known for its sparkling probiotics, kombucha and vinegar tonics.
And these drinks aren't just the traditional orange, apple or grape juices. Driven by adventurous millennials, ingredients like coconut, aloe and lavender, as well as nontraditional vegetables like beets and carrots, are finding their way into juices and other beverages.
Keeping cold-brew coffee natural is also a good way to jump on a trend. According to Mintel, the drink's estimated category sales growth was 339% from 2010 to 2015 — and 115% for 2014 to 2015.