When Soft Drinks Become Premium: Is it about Health, Taste or Brand?

Once considered as an opportunity for refreshment and indulgence, the soft drinks industry has experienced a major transformation with an increasing focus on nutrition. People are searching for natural beverage options as sugar-laden, conventional soda soft drinks are being constantly criticised by the media worldwide.

There is no indication of a slowdown in consumer demand for on-the-go drinks. Manufacturers of all sizes are trying to integrate in their products add-ons such as probiotics, functional ingredients and even superfoods. As soft drinks become premium, people are interested in functionality and choosing health over taste. Instead of asking ‘What’s in this bottle,’ consumers now ask – ‘What is this bottle doing for me?’

Organic brands are becoming all the rage now. Let us explore what caused this shift in expectations of light beverages and where is the trend headed next.

Craving for All-natural Drinks

A glass of orange juice

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All-natural drinks are the top priority for today’s health-conscious beverage consumers. Buyers seek products made using authentic, traditional production methods as it instils feelings of security and people can relate to its age-old production technique. A great example of this trend is reflected through the current popularity of Kombucha, a fermented tea drink that shoppers crave for its unique flavour. It has natural carbonation and offers gut-health benefits to the drinkers. Needless to say, the demand for such natural and unique products are driven by health and wellness customers, who are using a BMR Calculator App to calculate their Body Mass Index.

Low Sugar Formula

Although the average consumer is not fully aware of all available natural drinks, public expectations for this category has only risen. Companies like Coca Cola have delved into this genre with lower calorie versions in order to satisfy the consumers’ demand for drinks with less sugar content. UAE’s gourmet dates giant, Bateel has gone so far as to offer a sparkling variant of fruit juices with flavours like dates and pomegranates blended with apples. The USP is that it is naturally sweet without any sugar additives. 

The Health Factor

Current beverage trends have widely established that taste and price are no longer the only criteria for beverage launches. Buyers want drinks to make them healthier, hence companies are discovering novel ways to include superfoods in beverages. Take the example of tea producers in the UK who have started adding Matcha and various Vitamins to appeal to health-conscious customers. 

Environmental Awareness

Products with minimal packaging are being appreciated by consumers and it is driving brands towards ethical and sustainable product development as well as packaging. Ingredients obtained from ethical sources have a direct impact on reducing environmental abuse. If the product packaging is eco-friendly or recyclable, then customers consider it as a sustainable choice. This allows more room for brands to innovate and improvise in the beverage category.