At 4Pack, we are inspired by invention.
And exploring soft drinks right now, there is an explosion of new brands and product propositions out there that is very refreshing.
From no sugar sparkling waters with natural fruit flavours to bubbly cold teas with added vitamins, there is a lot of guilt-free innovation to enjoy.
So why are these ‘better for you’ alternatives to traditional soft drinks set to make a big impact in 2020?
We think there are three reasons:
According to a study of 23,000 consumers carried out by FMCG Gurus in May 2020, 63% consumers are more conscious about their overall health as a result of Coronavirus. 80% of those surveyed are planning to eat and drink more healthily and 57% of all respondents want to reduce sugar intake.
Health is everyone’s biggest concern at the moment. It was announced last week that the UK government is expected to launch an 'emergency drive' to slim down nation and reduce instance of type 2 diabetes, and that means accelerating progress towards lower sugar targets.
According to a MCA Healthier Eating Report 2019, 19% of the UK adult population is now teetotal (10 million people). So, there’s a growing target market of health-conscious adult consumers looking for no sugar or sugar free alternatives to traditional soft drinks and alcohol.
According to Britvic GBs foodservice and licensed director Adam Russell ‘People of all ages are willing to spend more when a set of criteria have been met, including quality, health credentials, sustainability and convenience’.
So, what do we think is the perfect formula for new-sprung soft drink success? It looks to be strong targeted branding, ‘clean label’, no sugar and health. So, super clean recipes with zero artificial colours and flavours are a given. Unusual vegetable and fruit juices and extracts are combining to offer exciting new flavours. And adding vitamins and adaptogens, means ticking a few health boxes too.
There are three aspects about this sector that we particularly like:
What we like here is the quality of the brand approach. Every outlet of communication is covered in a consistent and unrivalled way.
These smaller beverage producers are reaching out to connect with their consumers via social media. Facebook and Instagram are the new billboards set to educate a new consumer group on the provenance and benefits of these unique drink offerings.
Targeting specifically the Gen Z/Millennials, producers are mindful that people will be spending more time on their phones and on social media than in front of TV. They are quickly building a virtual community of inspired consumers.
Beyond the vibrant websites and social media campaigns, what we admire the most is the inclusion of packaging as a central part of the brand proposition. These products are sold in highly stylized cans and bottles, miniature works of art! This showcases how eye-catching packaging can be and how it can truly support the brand at the point of consumption.
And branding doesn’t stop with packaging. Neatly branded apparel is all part of Xite’s holistic mission to support active and healthy life choices. Xite’s fizzy fruity energy drink with vegan, zero sugar, natural caffeine is set to be a game-changer in the energy drink market.
We are not short of choice when it comes to calling out innovative ingredients and flavours. Every producer in the marketplace is trying to do ‘more for less’, replacing artificial ingredients with natural or plant based options. Using careful sourcing with concern for provenance and sustainability.
Ugly drinks have recently launched online monthly limited edition flavours offering loyal consumers access to exciting new options for their fruit flavoured sparkling water which is totally sugar and sweetener free.
Leaf tea specialists Suki has launched some interesting real brewed tea and fruit sparkling infusions (white tea, black tea and fruit sparkling infusions).
Soft drinks start-up Suivie have launched into the popular berry category with a totally new flavour profile, based on the rare jabuticaba berry which is sourced from specific farms in Brazil and Switzerland combined with apples, ginger and alpine water. Jabuticaba is naturally high in vitamins C, E as well as antioxidants, potassium and magnesium.
Beyond reducing our sugar intake, many drinks offer tantalising added health benefits such as energizing vitamins and adaptogens to prevent fatigue and nurture our immune systems.
Popular brand GetMoreVits fruit flavoured water with added vitamins are set to launch a sister range of products with added fibre this summer.
Little Miracles offer an attractive range of organic tea and fruit juice combinations. Carefully sourced panax ginseng and acai are added to naturally reduce fatigue and boost concentration. Traditional sugar has been replaced by organic agave.
In April, Tenzing launched a plant based BCAA (branched chain amino acid) energy drink. The Blackberry & Acai drink is full of berries known for their anti-oxidant properties and contains BCAAs derived from corn. A major plus for those following a plant based diet as many other BCAAs are derived from animal sourced keratin.
And to conclude, it is worth mentioning fermented drink options that are appearing in this category. Fermented drinks are known to promote immune system, digestive and heart health. No.1 Livings and Remedy’s kombucha based drinks are readily available and offer a range of traditional to more novel flavours from ginger to cola and raspberry lemonade. What’s not to like?!
So, to summarise, we feel there is a lot to celebrate here. The fizzy drinks category is being given a much needed shake up. These health-promoting soft drinks are fitting nicely into our lifestyles in lockdown and beyond with the convenience of subscription schemes and direct to consumer options, as well as availability on-shelf.
As Allison Ellsworth, cofounder of US prebiotic soda Poppi says “Every generation has a soda that defines them, in the 1960s, it was classic refreshment from Coke. In the 1980s, it was the diet craze with Diet Coke. In the 2000s, everything moved to zero with Coke Zero. Today, soda is as much about flavour as it is about functionality."
At 4Pack, we think these ‘better for you’ soft drinks may indeed be the soda for this generation. And for those who think this could be a passing fad, think again!
At 4Pack, we are inspired by invention.
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