Pop. Tisssss. Clink. Glug. Oooh!
The drinks industry is going through a revolution. This is resulting in the explosion of new product options, a divergence in brand portfolios and an alchemy in terms of turning old boring ideas into fantastic new offerings. It is an exciting time for both brands in the industry and the everyday people that buy soft drinks, tonics and alcohol.
It is easy to see that the drinks industry is going through a growth spurt that is delighting consumers with a whole range of exciting new products and innovations. In a fast-moving and burgeoning sector, we have identified three key trends that every drinks brand and industry professional should be aware of:
Flavour is King in the Drinks Industry
When observing the beverages sector and looking into each category, we have seen that flavour is driving the adoption of a lot of new products across classifications and verticals. This has been across the product spectrum from soft drinks to gin to juice to mixers and tonics. Flavour is key in terms of appealing to different taste, but it also plays a role in creating inspiration for consumers.
Many drinks brands are playing with the imaginations of people by offering extremely inventive and sometimes borderline outrageous flavours. Some of our favourites have been the Strawberry with Balsamico Gin from That Boutique-y Gin, a cactus-infused water and our very own Pomegranate & Basil premium mixer.
This flavour revolution has allowed smaller brands to stake their claim and do innovative things that the larger corporate brands have been hesitant to do for years. Many of the larger brands are now following the lead of the little guys who have emerged as the industry pioneers in crafting high-quality flavour.
We have adopted the approach of working with flavour-pairing techniques and molecular gastronomy to create our flavours. Having understood that smell is as important as taste in the flavour experience, we worked hard to create unique flavours that did more than your average drink. This technique allowed us to create beautifully balanced mixers and tonics that are light but full of flavour.
Tastes are Refining
While drinks like whiskey and brandy have been appreciated for a long time, and categories such as fruit juice and soft drinks have been under scrutiny for years with regards to how they fit into a healthy lifestyle, we have seen an industry-wide growth in consumer interest and education. Consumers have developed a more discerning palette across the board when it comes to drinks, making more mature decisions when purchasing.
Consumers are much more particular about what they are putting into their bodies, and so are more conscientious with their choices about what they try and buy. There is a movement towards low-sugar and low-calorie options, which reflects the larger lifestyle that has made sure that most FMCG categories have become more responsible in their offering.
This awareness and demand has forced the drinks industry to become more responsible in the way it selects ingredients and production processes. People are more interested than ever in how ingredients are sourced and how products are produced, meaning companies are required more than ever to deliver well-crafted products and authentic brand narratives.
Non-Alcoholic Alternatives are on the Rise
With the Millenial group being more mature and the rise of Gen Z as influential consumers in the drinks market, we have seen a rise in the adoption of non-alcoholic drinks. One in five adults in the UK do not drink alcohol, meaning they are looking to a wider range of high-quality alternatives. While they are still visiting cocktail bars, restaurants and festivals and experiencing the same consumption occasions, they are choosing to go alcohol-free. This is due to a number of factors such as health benefits, responsible living and staying sharp for business and sport.
This trend has meant that the UK has recorded the lowest level of alcohol drinkers since 2005. This group is expected to become even more salient in the market, meaning we will see a lot more non-alcoholic beverage opportunities rearing their heads.
Let us know if you have any comments or insights of your own in the comments. We would love to hear what you think about these trends and if you have seen them rearing their heads in your part of the market.
By Joyce & Raissa de Haas