TOP 10 Beverage trends for 2016: from protein drinks to herbal sodas

As the change of a calendar is coming we suggest to start preparing for the spring of 2016. For the next high season of the beverage industry we would like to exclude following biggest trends.

PROTEIN drinks.
Rising interest of protein ingredients has an impact on the market already, although next year of 2016 should be booming with functional protein drinks. This is due to the fast growing trend of anti aging.  There are several different target markets that you can try to apply one or another type of protein as a main functional ingredient. For example, whey protein is an irreplaceable ingredient in a food ration of almost every athlete. So one of the most promising products to launch in 2016 is a tasty, low sugar, pre-work out protein drink.

PProtein drinksrotein drink in a beauty market is noticed already from last year. Creating products containing collagen is a trend stepping strongly forward into the market of 2016. Collagen is a super functional ingredient not only for the beauty but health at the same time. Beautiful skin, less wrinkles and healthy joints sounds a perfect marketing strategy.

HERBAL drinks. Extremely strong trend for already 5 years which is not planning to give up in 2016. Herbal energy drinks, relax drinks, focus, immune – fields that you can apply herbs. Most popular herbs are staying the same:  ginseng and ginger.

Herbal DrinksSuch herbs are popular not only in soft drinks, but alcohol cocktails at the same time.  Main reasons for such popularity are that these two herbs are not only providing with a very nice and specific taste. They are well known, so you do not have to educate consumers additionally in regards to the third reason – functional properties.  Other growing functional herbal ingredients are: Yerba Mate, Maca root extract, milk thistle, guarana, elder flower extract.

AMINO ACID drinks.  L-carnitine or Taurine are the amino acids that most of you are already familiar with. The new and less heard ingredient is BCAA – branched amino acids. The combination of three amino acids (valine, leucine, and isoleucine) with a similar structure that beneficially influence the muscles.  This functional ingredient is helping to build muscles easier and reduce the pain after work out. In most of the times BCAA is mixed with caffeine and l-carnitine, taurine or vitamins to make it even more effective. Another field that is completely new but also getting more and more popular is EAA drinks. Essential amino acids – much wider list of ingredients including a bigger number of various different amino acids that serves during and after the work out.

Vitamin WaterVITAMIN drinks. An interesting and promising trend is to have a very focused functional drink. This is done with a help of various vitamins. For example EFSA has proven claims for B group vitamins which are related with nervous system, so a drink containing only B group vitamin is a very concentrated product. Vitamin C is still a super popular vitamins which is not only easy to work with but easy to promote its benefits. So it appears that sometimes simple things can be genius and trendy.

CLEAR LABEL /NATURAL drinks. This is still high and for sure not leaving the stage in year of 2016. Doesn’t matter the function of the drink, taste or the packaging, the product is very often required to be natural. It means no artificial preservatives, colorants, flavorings. Truth to be told a very concerning thing is to know that vitamins and minerals are chemically synthesized ingredients. There is a possibility to outsource vitamins from a natural source, but the negative part of this process is that it gives turbidity and provides with a very strong aftertaste. The good news is that 50-70% of consumers perceive vitamins and minerals as natural.

Gluten FreeGLUTEN FREE drinks. Most of the soft drinks are gluten free. The biggest concern is caramel color, although it can be made from barley, it is most often made from corn or sugar. Another issue is with liquid breakfast that contains oats or wheat, here you have to check it and be careful in regards to the special labeling on the bottle.

BIRCH SAP drinks.  This is a new generation of coconut water. In the year of 2015 this trend built a very strong foundation and it is definitely going to blast in the upcoming year. The interesting concept for the next year would be to have a combination of birch sap and juices. In the end of the day the birch sap will not provide with an aftertaste only with an additional unique selling preposition.

SPICINESS. It is been noticed that for the past few years we are having new products with various spices, such as chili pepper, basil, jalapeno. Spicy and sharp flavors are going well not only with veggie products but with such smooth fruits as peach or mango. Spiciness is providing with a nice additional note, which is giving a hint of uniqueness.

Dairy ProductsDAIRY SUBSTITUTES. Another trend which is related with booming vegetarianism and lactose intolerance is dairy substitutes from plants. In the beginning, we had only soy milk, but recently such products as oat milk, tiger nut milk, almond milk, and cashew milk are being noticed. For sure this trend is not going anywhere.

PROCESSING WITH HPP. Due to the trend of clear label we see huge request for natural processed products containing no preservatives. High pressure processing is lately super popular. This shows that nowadays the shelf life and price don’t have such a big influence as a demand of naturalness and quality.

So these were observations of MyDrink Beverages for the upcoming year of 2016. It is right about time to start thinking of how you will conquer the beverages market next year.

Author - dipl. eng. Ieva Jurevičienė

Ieva currently Head of NPD for MyDrink Beverages. Her work encompasses innovation, new product development, recipe optimization and consulting.