Why wellness is big in beverages

In this era of uncertainty, consumers are seeking out drinks that benefit physical and emotional wellness. Innovation-focused brands are using color to tap into the trend, whether to showcase functional benefits or create moments of joy and escapism. GNT’s trend specialists have combined market research with in-house expertise to identify five key themes in non-alcoholic beverages – and help you appeal to consumers.

Gut Health

Worldwide, 72% of consumers recognize the link between good digestive health and good overall health.[1] A global survey of 30,000 consumers in 2022 found that a significant number had consumed beverages to maintain healthy digestion in the previous 12 months, including functional soft drinks (32.3%), kefir (20.7%), and kombucha (9.1%).[2] Many prebiotic, probiotic, and fermented drinks are naturally sharp, which means they tend to be paired with sweet flavors. Brands can use bold color shades to showcase enticing flavors that also deliver a health halo, such as purple acai berry.

Orange beverage with pineapple


Calming Candy Crossovers

At a time when consumers all over the world face a heavy mental burden, many are seeking refuge in nostalgic pleasures. In fact, 79% of shoppers globally now say they find soft drinks with nostalgic flavors appealing.[3] The main reasons for this are that these flavors remind them of simpler times (76%) and offer moments of comfort and escapism (73%). Brands can help trigger childhood memories by incorporating favorite candy flavors into beverages, with many now based on well-known brands. Color can be used to match the shades featured in the original confectionery to bring these products to life.

Yellow and pink drink


Healthy Hydration

The hydration category has exploded into life in recent times, with brands launching a range of products with functional ingredients including vitamins, minerals, and nootropics. Mintel is predicting that hydration will accelerate and diversify as a marketing and innovation theme as consumers become increasingly aware of the benefits of optimal hydration.[4] Some of the most successful hydration beverages in recent times have used color to showcase concepts focused on elemental and galactic themes.

Light blue drink with lemon


Bubble Trouble

Bubble tea is highly popular among Gen Z, delivering multisensory stimulation with exciting flavors and colors alongside chewy tapioca pearls. It’s highly customizable too, with ready-to-drink versions and make-your-own kits allowing for a truly unique, tasty, and fun drink. Watermelon, yuzu, lime, and dragon fruit are growing flavor trends, providing opportunities for color innovation in both the beverage base and the flavored bubbles.

Red beverage with straw


Game On

With ongoing stresses, more and more consumers are escaping into the world of gaming. This new reality requires both hydration and energy sources. A third of Gen-Z and millennial consumers worldwide say they are curious about digital food and beverage experiences. Brands are now developing innovative gamer drinks in powdered and RTD formats to enhance cognition and mental focus. Many feature eye-catching colors – with the chance to explore ethereal themes through color and packaging to take the consumer on a truly out-of-this-world experience.

Purple drink with blueberries


EXBERRY® is a plant-based, sustainable coloring solution that can deliver a full spectrum of shades in beverage applications.

[1] FMCG Gurus ‘Health and Wellness: Gut Microbiome in 2022’ (March 2022)
[2] FMCG Gurus ‘Custom Survey – Global & Regional – Digestive Health’ (Q3 2022)
[3] FMCG Gurus ‘Custom Survey – Global & Regional – Flavor, Color & Texture’ (Q4 2022)
[4] Mintel ‘The Future of Water, Sports and Energy Drinks: 2023’ (September 2023)

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