Niles, IL—Imbibe, a beverage development company, announced their top 10 U.S. beverage trend predictions for 2020 in a press release. Many of the trends will be driven by health and wellness, in conjunction with experience-culture and the state of the economy.
Holistic Wellness: Demand for beverages that support physical and emotional health will continue to promote innovation. Brands will incorporate everything from essential nutrients to trending ingredients like ashwagandha into functional beverages, and will use natural flavors from superfruits, vegetables and herbs. Better-for-you beverages will also be used to trigger nostalgia with flavors like s’mores, birthday cake, and creamsicle.
Related: 5 Trends in Functional Foods & Beverages
Hyper-Personalization: Customers have easy access to personalized health information, and therefore frequently adapt their diet and product purchases to fit their needs. Brands will offer more options than ever through functional beverages that address specific needs like energy, cognitive performance, and gut health.
Related: Nutrition Organizations Form Association for Personalized Nutrition
Sweet Options: Brands will look to appeal to a wide range of taste and sweetener preferences, creating options ranging from zero sugar to full sugar, made with ingredients ranging from stevia to agave to inulin.
Related: Maple: The Smarter Sweetener
Hybrid Functional Beverages: Next-gen beverages will address multiple need states, such as energy drinks enhanced with sports nutrition ingredients, synbiotic beverages that combine probiotics and prebiotics, enhanced RTD coffee, and beverages with CBD as well as other functional ingredients.
Related: Flavorful Foods Get Functional
Better-for-You Bar: More brands will introduce options with low or no alcohol. Alcoholic drinks will be enhanced with functional ingredients like turmeric and coconut water, and drinks previously considered non-alcoholic will move into the alcohol segment—think hard kombucha.
Related: Specialty Food Association Predicts 2020 Trends
CBD: While it will remain tricky to market, given the fact that CBD itself is not legal as a food ingredient, it will find its way into beverages regardless, likely as a naturally occurring part of hemp oil or hemp extract, both of which are legal.
Related: NPA Poll: 51% of Americans Don’t Know CBD is Illegal
Sustainability: Reducing waste is a priority for customers, so it will become a priority for brands as well. Companies will launch products using upcycled and locally sourced ingredients with compostable packaging and less packaging material overall. Plant-based beverages will grow, as they are perceived as more sustainable than animal products. Dairy alternatives will dominate the plant-based beverage category, with oat milk as the rising star.
Related: Regenerative Agriculture: 25 Things to Know Now
A Sense of Adventure: Customers will seek out exotic flavors, bright colors, and unique textures. Global flavors from Latin America and Asia including guava, blood orange, yuzu, chili, and cardamom will be popular; ingredients with bold colors like blue majik, turmeric, beet, and matcha will be used to create visually appealing beverages; and beverages with chewable ingredients like boba and basil seeds will also hit shelves.
Related: Natural Flavor Update: Making good-for-you taste oh-so-good
Convenience: Customers are looking for beverages that fit their busy lives, including RTD beverages, wellness shots, and other grab-and-go options.
Related: Happy Customer: Erewhon Market
Affordable Luxury: Customers are willing to pay more for products that taste good and fulfill a need in-the-moment—but an uncertain economy and looming recession will require brands to introduce products that are affordable and meet the taste, quality, and functional expectations of consumers.
Related: Whole Foods Market Releases Top 10 Food Trends for 2020