Why the better-for-you beverage market is growing

Why the better-for-you beverage market is growing

The better-for-you beverage market has emerged in a big way in recent years – driven by shifting consumer preferences. People want to consume healthier food and drinks. They’re learning about gut health and microbiome; about the impact of sugar on their overall well-being (and on their teeth); and as more people are diagnosed with health conditions that require long-term management, they’re seeking solutions to improve their diets – while still getting to enjoy delicious tastes. 

All of these preferences apply to beverages just as much as they do to food. Canned and bottled drinks with high sugar content are now widely known to have a detrimental impact on health. But consumers still want to enjoy tasty drinks; so better-for-you options are seeing a surge in demand. 

Beverage marketing taps into consumer aspirations 

Do you want to be the kind of person who wakes up at 5am and runs a marathon every day? There’s a drink for that. 

Are you a gentle wellness practitioner, supporting your health with subtle ingredients that are rich in nutritional and energetic compounds? There’s a drink for that. 

Are you fit, strong, and looking for a high-power energy boost that isn’t followed by an energy crash? There’s a drink for that. 

Do you want to overcome exhaustion and overwhelm and feel calm, steady, and peaceful? Yep – there’s a drink for that too. 

The drinks aisle isn’t just about what’s in the can. It’s about the marketing campaigns that surround the can – and how they connect to who the customer is right now, and who they want to be. Beverages are positioned as lifestyle-enhancers, and the drink you choose reflects the person you are; from a gentle fizz infusion to a potent powdered blend of active ingredients you can mix at home.

This approach to marketing is important when it comes to the better-for-you segment, because price points are often high. One study in Hawaii found that in higher per capita income areas, healthy beverages cost $0.54 more per 20 ounces than unhealthy options – and that was way back in 2013. 

Since then, the market has grown – and so have the prices. According to data from Mordor Intelligence, the global health drinks market size is expected to reach USD $408.80 billion by 2028, up from $344.36 billion in 2023; growing at a CAGR of 3.49%. That puts it among the fastest growing markets in the world. 

What does the future look like for better-for-you drinks? 

In an interview with the Food Institute, Stacey Andrade-Wells (VP, Marketing at Liquid I.V.) said,

 “We know our consumers are making informed purchase decisions, which is why we take a very intentional approach to addressing our benefits, ingredients, sustainability, and sourcing practices in everything we do. We communicate these features to our consumers through our on-pack claims and certifications, in-store marketing, marketing activations, our website and social media platforms, and more.” 

And this focus on benefit-driven marketing with a real drive to educate consumers is an important clue about the future of the better-for-you beverage market. Marketing strategies will continue to be essential to market growth, enabling brands to connect with the right consumers and communicate the value of their drinks – while tapping into wellness aspirations.

In the same interview, Andrade-Wells noted that artificial intelligence (AI) is a new opportunity in the beverage space – and a growing number of brands will begin to leverage its potential to personalise customers’ experience of marketing campaigns. Using AI, brands can generate and target marketing content to suit consumers’ personal profiles; showing them the content and the drinks that suit them best. And this will become increasingly important as tightening privacy protections on digital platforms continue to restrict brand reach. 

At the centre of an effective better-for-you beverage marketing campaign, however, there has to be a drink that does what it says on the tin. So functional ingredients that really work, and offer consumers real results (whether it’s improved energy, immune support, mental clarity, or something else) are the essential fuel for this market’s growth engine.

Register now to attend InFlavour 2024 happening from October 1-3 at Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Center (RFECC).

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