As the health-conscious consumer demands more foods with natural ingredients, so goes beverages. Manufacturers are catering to this crowd by producing more niche flavors and natural caffeine sources.
After some time spent trending downward, juices are beginning to make a leap as natural ingredients become prevalent. The perception of health drives this beverage category, and beverage manufacturers are coming around to that idea. It helps that beneficial ingredients like probiotics are also being included.
Cold-brew coffee is also trending. Natural caffeine’s estimated sales growth was 339% from 2010 to 2015, according to Mintel. The drink has been successful in coffee shops/cafes in the United States, as well as being sold in retail.
As the clean label movement sweeps America, especially apparent in major chains like Panera and Starbucks, retail bakeries will want to hop aboard. These “clean” beverages are free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.
For example, last year Panera introduced an alternative to a popular fall beverage. Its “clean” pumpkin spice latte is made with select ingredients including milk, real pumpkin, whipped cream, spices, and salted caramel sauce.
It can sometimes be a challenge to reinvent new flavors or ingredients, particularly when it comes to interesting combinations, but there are opportunities with fruits and vegetables like berries, mango, cucumber, carrot, and more.
The need for indulgent, yet functional foods and beverages is a challenge the industry needs to answer, and this is a trend that is sure to be around for a long time.