New and exciting companies are making big waves in the domestic beverage market – bringing global flavors to fresh and functional beverages.
This trend has stemmed from increasing consumer preferences for global flavors that also offer health benefits. The growth in this new market sector was especially noticeable at Natural Products Expo West 2022 where the Foundery5 team had the pleasure to taste some of these new products – ranging from a fresh take on the classic Mexican agua fresca, to a probiotic soda drawing on ancient ayurvedic remedies from India.
Global Fruit Flavors
What global flavors are consumers most excited about and why? First up on the trend list are fruits. Top fruit flavors for 2022 include tropical fruits such as mango, pineapple, dragon fruit, guava and passionfruit and citrus such as lemons, mandarin oranges and yuzu. The consumer preference for these fruit flavors seems to be driven by the overall trend towards beverages that support health and wellness that has been seen over the past few years. According to Don Giampetro, vice president of innovation and quality at iTi Tropicals, “Exotic fruits such as coconut water, acerola, acai, guava, dragon fruit and passion fruit all contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytonutrients that support overall health and wellness.”
In addition to being functional, many of these tropical fruits (such as dragonfruit) are highly pigmented and vibrant in color. This means that beverage companies can use them to naturally color their product and draw consumers’ attention to their brightly colored beverages.
American consumers are also drawn towards beverages that combine new, global flavors with traditional classic flavors that many Americans are already familiar with. This trend of blending global flavors with domestic ones has successfully drawn in consumers that are looking to try something new but not too new.
Next up on the trend list? Herbs and spices – specifically ones hailing from South-eastern Asia. Ingredients such as turmeric, ginger, amalaki, ashwagandha and ceylon cinnamon have seen an immense increase in popularity over the past few years. With its high concentration of curcumin, turmeric has great anti-inflammatory properties, while its cousin ginger helps to soothe the gut and prevent indigestion. Amalaki helps to support the immune system with its high concentration of Vitamin C, while Ashwagandha helps to promote brain function and reduce stress. And consumer interest in these spices isn’t limited only to the functional benefits they offer. Consumers are drawn to the flavors of the spices as well.
So where are these spices showing up in the market? These global spices can be seen in a fast growing sector of the beverage market – functional sodas and seltzers. Carbonated drinks with digestive benefits are some of the most popular beverages on the market right now, and many of these beverages incorporate spices that soothe the gut and support the immune system, such as ginger, turmeric and amalaki.
Many of these spices are also showing up in the tea market. As tea consumption has increased over the past two years, spices such as ginger and cinnamon are prominent in new tea flavors. According to Mintel’s The US and RTD Tea Market Report 2021, “Tea drinkers are thirsty for more options, especially ones that may contribute to well-being rituals, even after a year of, or perhaps because of, increased consumption. Nearly a third of tea drinkers cite increased consumption compared to a year ago and have plans to continue.”
Beverage Brands Responding to these Consumer Trends
So how have businesses been capitalizing on consumer interest in global flavors and ingredients? More and more we’re seeing the arrival of beverage brands bringing global flavors to American consumers in fresh, health-conscious drinks. A few stand-out brands our team saw at Expo West 2022 who did just this include Agua Bonita, Turveda and Eliya Organics. Agua Bonita is a Latina-led beverage brand that took the idea of the traditional Mexican agua fresca and delivered a fresh version of it, with real fruit and no added sugar. Turveda is an Indian-owned company that created a line of probiotic sodas that combines functional ingredients traditionally found in India into a beverage to support gut health. Elyia Organics combines King Coconut water sourced from Sri Lanka with functional ayurvedic ingredients such as ceylon cinnamon, tamarind and ginger. And these are just a few of several new brands in this niche part of the beverage market. If this consumer trend towards global flavors continues, we’re likely to see many more companies enter this sector of the market.