With 2021 behind us, trends in food and drink established during the pandemic, or upset by it, are now settling out. As this continues, a new picture of the beverage landscape is emerging. Some trends that will dominate 2022 are merely extensions of emerging behavior before COVID-19, though others represent sharper departures from trends that had been building before lockdowns became a part of life.
As we roll into 2022, the legacy of changes to consumer sentiment brought about by the COVID pandemic can still be clearly felt. One way this is impacting the beverage market is the proliferation of healthy or seemingly healthy alternatives to established drink categories. This has led to botanicals, herbs, and even vegetables like cucumber proving to be more popular. Increased interest in beverages that project an aura of nutrition, such as those flavored with citrus products, has been on the rise in past years, and 2022 looks to bring a continuation in that trend.
Orange and pineapple flavors have been on the rise in several drink categories this year as consumers look to find new ways to sneak vitamin C into their diets. Even in beverages such as seltzers and sparkling waters that have very little fruit content, the broad interest in these flavors is still driving purchasing decisions. This suggests that other flavors based on high vitamin C fruits like pomegranate could be set for a bit of increased interest in the coming days.
Bubbly drinks are always sure to please, but some ongoing trends have put a little extra excitement into the functional fizz segment. As many younger consumers are re-evaluating the role of alcohol in their health goals, interest is turning to alternative beverages that can provide some taste without the taxing effects of alcohol.
Functional fizz is being thrown around as a term to help identify sparkling waters that bring more than just refreshment to the table. Flavored with botanicals, herbs, and fruit flavors popular among health and wellness-conscious consumers, these carbonated drinks are also being seen as a better alternative to sodas as people look for something to drink that doesn’t come with loads of unhealthy sugar.
Even though some consumers have started to shy away from alcohol due to health concerns, and others begin to drift from sodas for similar reasons, fermented drinks are far from off the table. In fact, the ongoing boom in kombucha sales is set to continue. What is more, new drink options like kefir water are poised to add even more dynamism to this market segment.
As popular as these fermented drinks are with consumers, the raw taste of kombucha is not appealing to all. That is what makes fruit flavorings such as blueberries, blackberries, black currants, and passion fruit great candidates as flavorings. Not only do they carry significant cache as healthy, antioxidant-rich fruits, but their flavors also work well in combination with botanicals and herbal ingredients popular in many kombuchas.
No new trend lasts forever, and as beverage segments become more established, interest begins to shift to whatever is coming next. For hard seltzers, which had been the hot new option for many consumers over the last several years, interest and growth is starting to slow as consumers begin to interact with brands and flavors as old favorites rather than intriguing new options.
A set of beverages likely to take advantage of this change is hard ciders. Apple and pear ciders in particular are set to break out of their niche with more and more canned, ready-to-drink options becoming available to a larger number of consumers. While apple cider products have been around for a long time, more flavors could begin to pop up, as is already seen with the increase in popularity of pear ciders hitting the market.
If there is one thing that continues to be a trend from the last few years, 2022 appears to be yet another year that starting a new product line, or making additions to old ones, could prove to be a good move. With consumers branching out and moving away from traditional beverage offerings and categories, there is more opportunity than ever to elevate your brand offerings and attract new buyers.
Careful attention to detail will be crucial, though, if you are going to win new converts to your brand. As people continue to look closely at labels, artificial flavors, sweeteners, and colors are going to continue to detract from your brand’s value in many customers’ eyes. Thankfully, partnering with FruitSmart can help you avoid this pitfall. Using only the highest quality ingredients sourced from quality growers, FruitSmart can give you the quality and consistency you need to ensure that your products have the allure and flavor you need to build loyalty with increasingly hard-to-capture consumers.
At FruitSmart, we do more than just provide the ingredients to make your food and drinks succeed. We also offer up our expertise to help you imagine new flavor combinations, and work through the hurdles that might come up as you adjust and tune a new product line. That is why we do more for our partners than simply provide a simple sample pack of our ingredients. If you are ready to see how partnering with FruitSmart can transform your brand, contact us today.