As a pandemic roars over the world, beverage sales were driven to new and unexpected records. Significantly more sales and a mentality shift, the pandemic brought with it, puts pressure on the industry like a good bottle of fizz waiting to be popped. Today, the industry must meet several trends, if a beverage company wants to stay competitive. Let's have a look at some of these challenges.
More is always better!
Before 2022 started to make its way into history for several reasons, subtle flavours were reigning the world of beverages. Think about the barely present nuance of lemon or strawberry added to still water or a soft spritz. These public favourites won't be s(f)avoured for long. The beverage industry is taking a whole different approach with more is better, which means more stronger and bolder flavours. Some critics may say it's due to the pandemic tackling many taste buds in the process. When people tasteless, just make their drinks tastier! That seems to be the motive. Although consumers want to taste something loud, the taste itself should be familiar. Let's not go for exotic fruits and weird out of the box tastes, but for flavours, even the smallest child can identify, like watermelon and cherry. For children, it's a complete experience of familiar flavours, for adults the pure taste of childlike nostalgia.
Sure, we've heard about superfoods, but super-drinks? Consumers are starting to prioritise their health over anything else. They want beverages with less sugar and fewer calories and caffeine. Not only that, but let's also add supplements, vitamins, probiotics and proteins to our beverage and we're ready to hop onto this 2022 trend. The pandemic is most likely to blame for such a sudden awareness of health and fitness. The whole super-drinks craze will undoubtedly affect the market of kombucha, energy and sports drinks, and bottled water.
It's all about the greens
Let's skip dairy products at the supermarket and go straight to an aisle filled with plant-based alternative beverages. Even if dairy-free products were initially developed for a niche of vegans, gen Z is taking over and buying more than expected as their awareness for animal welfare and climate change grows.
Let's judge a drink by its cover
The beverage industry can't afford to only look at what they put inside their bottles or cans. No, it all comes down to the total product, including your beverage's packaging. It's almost like the cover of a book. It should tell a story within one second of a gaze. Storytelling and aesthetics are still important, but the sustainability of said packaging has to be taken into account even more. Single-use plastic packaging is an ongoing concern for beverage manufacturers, posing many challenges. Therefore, it's necessary to invest in marketing but also in R&D. This way, the beverage industry makes sure its plastic packaging becomes recyclable or biodegradable, or even better, develop new materials that are less impactful on the environment.
Take a look at how Brewery Omer Vander Ghinste told their story about the 5 generations of their family brewery:
Is non-alcoholic the new liquid gold?
As health becomes more top of mind to the majority of the population, beverage companies have seen their sales for alcoholic beverages slump. But let's take this with a pinch of salt as the pandemic impacted the event industry maybe even more than others. People consume more alcohol when they're out, having fun, dancing to the latest hits on a hot summer festival. But as many of these were cancelled, less alcoholic beverages were needed. Only time will tell, and when the event industry slowly revives, if this trend will keep evolving into a non-alcoholic direction or things will stabilise and move into a let's drink wine and beer one.
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