In our fast paced world where nothing ever comes to a standstill, convenience is rapidly rising with consumers seeking convenience solutions to every aspect of their lives, spurring companies in the food industry value chain to greater innovation in both product and services in order to remain relevant.
This is very evident in the beverage industry where ready to drink (RTD) nutraceutical beverages, also known as functional beverages, are playing an increasing role as consumers look to them for health-oriented and convenient solutions. A ready to drink functional beverage is characterized as a beverage which includes additional ingredients to provide a health benefit beyond basic hydration and is premixed and packaged for grab and go consumption. Convenience and attractive, sustainable, transparent packaging are however, superseded by the demand for quality and functionality.
The trend for convenience, boosted by changes in consumer habits due to Covid-19, continues its rise with a growing awareness of immune and gut health as consumer increasingly focus on preventative health measures. Greater concern over stress and anxiety affecting sleep and emotional and mental wellbeing, has led to a demands for natural, often plant based, active substances that improve or calm mood and energy boosting foods and drinks.
Personalized nutrition has become increasingly relevant with over 84% of global consumers influenced by how well a product is tailored to their needs and personality.
The shift away from highly sweetened, caffeine-enhanced beverages (often low grade) to trendier premium, better tasting RTD products largely comprised of natural ingredients that add functionality to the diet and are carefully packaged, now represent the fastest growing market with rising consumption by Millennials and Generation Z.
Consumer choices reflect RTD products that include:
- antioxidants (47%)
- promote brain health (40%)
- are anti-inflammatory (35%) or
- have probiotics (30%)
- are as naturally produced as possible
- functional in benefit and
- attractive yet sustainably packaged
Caffeine based energy drinks are being replaced with naturally-derived caffeine, guarana extracts and B vitamins providing more energy without the sugar crash. Innovation is key and has led to a release of new ‘fusion’ beverages that are both ready-to-drink and claim to have health-related functional benefits, such as cannabis-infused iced teas and collagen waters or additions.
The demand for natural plant based drinks abounding in health and goodness opened the door to a host of innovative, ever expanding Rooibos based drinks. Excellent examples of on the go convenience are the Carmién Cold Brew range of Rooibos blends and sparkling ice teas that are naturally calming, great for digestion, immune boosting, high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and either sugar free or containing natural stevia leaf for sweetening. Grab and go convenient sparkling rooibos ice tea blends are available in three delicious flavours, Berry Hibiscus, Geranium Mint and Tangerine Grapefruit.
For those with a bit of time still on their hands, nothing beats the calming, healing benefit of a good long talk over a hot cuppa tea…