Maryland Heights, MO /PRNewswire/ - The most fundamental function of beverages is hydration, but according to studies recently compiled by Beck Flavors and Brenntag, consumers are now demanding a lot more from their drinks.
"Because of a growing focus on functionality and convenience, beverages are now being asked to work harder than they ever have before," says Janie Page, Sr. Director of Marketing & New Business for Beck Flavors, a leader in custom flavor innovation based in Missouri. "That starts with boosting immunity, and improving bone, brain and heart health."
Page cited the growing popularity of collagen-infused sparkling beverages to promote skin and joint health as an example of this shift. In addition, ingredients with natural properties that have health benefits are becoming more prevalent, like yuzu. "Yuzu can add a natural, healthy, functional and premium halo to foods and drinks that target personalized health needs," says Page.
Plant-based proteins are also seeing a jump in popularity, primarily due to their health benefits. "Health remains the strongest driver for consumers to incorporate more plant-based proteins into their diet, exceeding other motivators like variety, environmental impact and even taste," adds Beeta Little, Technical Development Manager at Brenntag Food & Nutrition, the global market leader in chemicals and ingredients distribution. "However, taste and functionality are not mutually exclusive. Consumers are realizing that they can get great-tasting, nutritionally rich products, and that's been a game changer."
Functional nutrition has certainly come to the forefront of the beverage industry, and plant-based proteins are leading the charge. "All plants have some proteins, but at different percentages," Little explains. Vegan protein is especially versatile, and Little specifically mentions yellow pea, hemp heart and pumpkin protein as popular sources in the industry.
Fortified beverages with vitamins and minerals also deliver a key level of convenience in our fast-paced world. According to a study by Innova Market Insights, three out of five consumers say that vitamin/mineral claims influence their purchase decision a lot or quite a bit.
"In the end, it's about peace of mind for consumers," says Adam Berge, Applications Technologist at Beck Flavors. "By offering products with health benefits that also taste great, they can more easily get the nutrition they need, and everybody wins."