Beverage Innovation Trends 

The beverage industry is constantly in a state of flux, with new brands and concoctions entering the market on a regular basis. These trends in beverage innovation aren’t random, however, and there are a number of factors that drive the development of new products. In the last decade, for instance, consumers have become much more conscious about how what they eat and drink affects them and the world around them. At FruitSmart, part of our job is to recognize upcoming trends and inspire new innovations backed by premium ingredients.

Factors Driving Change 

It’s long been said that consumers vote with their wallets; their changing tastes, preferences, concerns, and passions are reflected in what they choose to buy. There are many factors and influences involved in the part-emotional and part-logical process of selecting products. Below are some of the main factors that have been prompting innovation in the beverage industry in recent years:

  • Health and wellness: Numerous recent trends can be traced back to the years during the COVID-19 pandemic when questions about our physical and mental health were front and center in a new way. The move toward healthier options transcends the previously dominant framework of low calorie weight management; now the shift also includes functional beverages that have added nutrients, probiotics, and botanicals that are aimed at improving things like hydration, gut health, and energy levels.
  • Premiumization: While there will always be a market for low-cost options, another factor that has had an impact on the beverage industry is a trend toward premiumization. This trend is characterized by significant segments of consumers who are willing to pay more for artisanal or craft formulations. This has fueled a wide range of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages that have an elite taste profile and cultural cachet.
  • Sustainability: The kinds of beverage products that tend to get the most buzz these days are often noteworthy for how they are produced and packaged as much as the taste and price. The growing concern about the health of the environment is yet another factor that plays a role in consumer choices. In addition to considerations like the materials used in packaging and the resources involved in production, beverage manufacturers are also looking at techniques like upcycling to ensure sustainability.
  • Differentiation: It isn’t a new phenomenon that beverage producers want to differentiate themselves from each other, but the entry of so many new products into the market has spurred a boom of creativity. This need to differentiate from competitors is also driven by personalization, the idea of developing products that cater to specific tastes, needs, and cultural differences.
  • What’s old is new: Like in movies, TV shows, and music, another factor driving innovation is a desire to return to products of old. In some ways, this is another aspect of personalization, since manufacturers can bring back old brands, flavors, and colors to appeal to different age groups.

Fruit at the Center of Beverage Innovations

While there are occasionally new ingredients that become available to producers, innovation for the most part relies on finding new ways to use familiar ingredients. And in the beverage industry, fruit flavors will always be prominent because of the many ways to use juices, concentrates, and essences to bring different notes of flavor and color to a recipe. Moreover, many fruits are chosen because of their purported benefits for health and wellness:

  • Apples: Apples are a perennially popular fruit that are known for being associated with health. In the beverage industry, apple juice is often combined with other juices to make unique and flavorful blends. Because apple juice is loaded with nutrients, it is most recently being used in fortified sports drinks aimed at promoting kids to live more active lifestyles. The robust nutritional content and added electrolytes can help keep up hydration levels.
  • Cherries: Cherries have a unique tart flavor that makes them pair well with a wide range of other foods and beverages. Even apart from cocktails, mocktails, and fruit punches, cherries can add a punch to many different kinds of recipes. In addition to being a good source of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium, cherries also contain antioxidants; this is also why cherries are often included in health-oriented beverages and products.
  • Citrus fruits: Lemons, limes, and oranges are of course some of the most familiar flavors in the beverage industry. Citrus fruits have a way of bringing freshness and brightness to a beverage that few other ingredients can match. CItrus fruits are also the centerpiece of many new innovative beverages because they simultaneously add flavor, nutritional value, and often color to any recipe. Additionally, their natural sweetness plays into a larger movement toward highlighting natural sugars instead of added sugars.
  • Peaches: Peaches are a type of stone fruit that often lend an aromatic flavor to beverages. Peach is a mildly sweet flavor known for enhancing drinks like iced tea, lemonade, hard seltzer, and sparkling water. One recent innovative use for peach is geared toward beauty-oriented beverage options; it is being used to flavor beverages with collagen peptides that are believed to be beneficial for the health of our skin, hair, joints, and fingernails.
  • Mangos: The mango is a tropical fruit that is a relatively new arrival in terms of popular beverage flavors in the United States. This exotic fruit is sweet with floral notes that make it combine well with a wide variety of other fruit flavors. Peach has recently been used as a flavoring for prebiotic sparkling water, a product type that is meant to improve the health of the gut microbiome.

Partner with FruitSmart

FruitSmart has always been dedicated to developing the kinds of innovative ideas that can help our customers thrive. “From the beginning, FruitSmart has taken ideas from our customers and turned them into reality,” said Luca Da Ponte, V.P. of Sales. “There is a high demand and expectation in the beverage industry right now for innovative products. We are not only in-step with the latest trends, but able to collaborate with our partners to help develop new products. In addition, we’re able to tap into the expansive inventory of our sister companies, Silva International and Shank’s, to provide an even wider range of ingredient options.”

Staying on top of the latest innovations in the beverage industry is one of the key differentiators at FruitSmart. Rather than simply selling high quality products (which we do), we are passionate about partnering with you to develop new products that will delight your customers. If you’d like to learn more about what we offer and how we can help you develop your next great recipe, please contact us to speak with our team. We are passionate about taking the seed of an idea and turning it into a delicious reality.

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