Scrolling through my LinkedIn newsfeed, a post from Chicago-based Mintel caught my eye. “Thirty-four percent of U.S. adults are interested in seeing carbonated soft drinks with added benefits,” the post stated. This got me thinking about a recent article from The Washington Post titled “The newest, hippest drink pouring into a glass near you: Craft soda,” a feature about Thunder Beast Root Beer, a craft root beer brand owned by Jones Soda.
The carbonated soft drink (CSD) industry has faced its share of challenges including perceptions from health-conscious millennial consumers. But speaking as one myself, a trip to a Taco Bell or McDonald’s is not complete without some fizzy refreshment. Still, Mintel data also shows that consumers are gaining an interest in craft sodas with 44 percent of non-craft drinkers interested in trying craft products.
And Mintel’s stat about added benefits got me thinking about craft sodas. Just as craft beer brands have used their “craft” stance to entice consumers, CSD brands might have the opportunity to do so as well as Mintel notes that 57 percent of U.S. consumers agree that CSDs made with natural ingredients are healthier than those made with artificial ingredients.
But for craft sodas, it still might be too soon to go that far. Yet, these small CSD brands slowly are gaining national media attention. However, the movement from large, national CSD companies to offer craft soda brands might also be driving attention to the segment. PepsiCo even announced it will release a craft-like soda, called 1893 at this year’s NACS conference.
At this point though, one has to wonder: Can craft sodas help the CSD market grow again? Maybe the outcome of PepsiCo’s venture will provide insight.