As beverage-makers continue to develop products that do more than satisfy consumers’ thirst, the number of beverages that carry a functional claim continues to increase. According to “Functional and Natural Ready-to-Drink Beverages in the U.S.,” a report by Rockville, Md.-based market research publisher Packaged Facts, sales of energy drinks, ready-to-drink (RTD) teas and sports drinks have helped the functional and natural RTD beverage market grow to $23 billion.
Children can get crafty when it comes to eating vegetables. They can push them around their plates to try to make it look like they’ve eaten more than they have; or they might hide them in their napkins or underneath other food. The last resort for most kids is actually eating the vegetables. However, manufacturers and parents alike are hoping that incentives and constant exposure to vegetables might help these picky eaters adapt.
Better-for-you beverages continue to appeal to consumers, and beverage companies continue to find ways to address that trend. According to Chicago-based Mintel Group Ltd.’s “Juice and Juice Drinks” report, 5 percent of launches from January to June 2011 contained antioxidants, which represents a 1 percent increase from the previous period. The report adds that many launches sourced their antioxidant content from superfruits such as acai berries, blueberries, cranberries and pomegranates.
In recent years, consumers have embraced superfruits, such as pomegranate, acai, blueberry and cranberry, for their antioxidant content. However, certain cherry varietals also rank alongside the more renowned superfruits in terms of antioxidant content. Although the fruit has long been favored as a pie filling and ice cream sundae topper, cherry is still establishing itself as a beverage ingredient, but suppliers say that’s ripe for a change.
As consumers continue to look for functional food and beverages to supplement what’s missing from their diets, manufacturers continue to offer fortified options. When it comes to fiber, consumers can now find fiber-fortified snack bars, brownies and juice drinks.
Long known as a skin soother, aloe has a reputation in the United States for its inherent external benefits. Riding the health and wellness trend, aloe suppliers and beverage-makers are working to expand consumers’ knowledge about the benefits of consuming aloe.
With new beverage flavors fighting for consumers’ attention and juice prices higher than usual due to inclement weather, U.S. orange juice sales have declined during the last several years, says Sarah Theodore, global drinks analyst for Mintel Food & Drink, Chicago. More specifically, orange juice sales were down about 9 percent in food, drug and mass retail, excluding Walmart, between 2008 and 2010, she says.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming omega-3 fatty acids to benefit the hearts of healthy people as well as those at risk or who have cardiovascular disease. Although the association recommends eating two servings of fish a week for fatty acids, ingredient companies offer a lineup of products that help beverage-makers continue to offer another avenue for consuming polyunsaturated fats.
Throughout the world, coffee is consumed for its caffeinated benefits, for its social connotations and because it offers rich and delicious flavors. While the reasons for drinking coffee have remained the same through the years, coffee itself has experienced quite an evolution. Today, consumers enjoy their blends bottled, canned, decaffeinated, instant or even in their favorite dessert.