A functional beverage is a non-alcoholic drink with some additional nutritional value to promote a healthy lifestyle. These beverages contain ingredients, such as Vitamins, dietary fibres (DFs), amino acids, minerals, probiotics, herbs, raw fruits, and so on.

Examples of functional beverages include energy drinks, caffeinated beverages, sports drinks, dairy-based beverages, enhanced water, fruit, and vegetable beverages.

The functional beverage industry is one of the largest in the food industry. It is also one of the fastest-growing in the sector. Precisely, we could see an 8.07 % increase in the FB market by the end of this year.

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the trends transforming the food and beverage industry in 2021.

  1. Increased Demand for Functional Beverages Due to the Pandemic

The functional beverage business was already booming even before the pandemic. Its market grew by 3% in 2010 and by 7.8% in 2014. The pandemic only brought the success much closer to reality.

Consumers have an urgent need to boost their immunity and minimize their chances of catching the coronavirus. As a result, functional beverages are in high demand.

  1. Nootropics

Nootropic is a new trend that will most likely last for so long into the future. Nootropics are ingredients that claim to boost cognitive health, including creativity, clarity, and memory.

Examples of such ingredients include

  • Antioxidant botanicals such as yerba mate and green tea
  • Adaptogenic herbs like Schisandra and ginseng, which are perfect for boosting mood and energy.
  • Ashwagandha, which can help improve mood, fight depression and even minimize symptoms of stress and anxiety.
  • Passionflower; for fighting stress and insomnia.
  1. Caffeine Alternatives

Caffeinated beverages have been for a long time the most popular energy drinks, but that is changing now. Most people have realized the side effects of caffeine.

As a result, L-theanine is in high demand. Some of its benefits include improved immunity, mental focus, relaxation, and sleeping.

Food innovation in caffeinated drinks alternatives will continue to the end of this year and beyond.

  1. Healthy Hydration

Functional beverages such as bottled water, enhanced waters, sparkling waters, and flavored still waters are in high demand in 2021. People love them because they provide both hydrational and health benefits.

There is a common belief that beverages are nothing but a source of useless calories, but that is changing. There have been so many exciting developments in the water flavourings as sugary and carbonated drinks continue to phase out.

  1. Plant-based Options Expand

Plant-based ingredients are increasing in the functional beverage industry. Consumers, especially the young generation, are now preferring natural beverages. That means the demand for plant-based options can only go up.

  1. Increased Online Sales

One area that has probably benefited the most during the pandemic is the online business. After everything shut down, the internet was the only way to stay connected and perform almost all our daily tasks. And most especially during the total lockdowns.

As long as the pandemic is still here, social distancing rules will remain, and online customers will continue using the internet to buy their favourite functional drinks.

  1. Winning Combinations

Food innovation for functional beverages will remain on top in 2021 to increase the functionality of these drinks. Customers will get more value and more options from which to choose their drinks. Precisely, companies will experiment with different ingredients to create blends that will maximize the benefits for the consumer.

Conclusion

There are so many functional beverages available in the market. Below are some examples

  • Sound Green Tea
  • Minna Cherry Cacao Green Tea
  • Vitamin Water
  • Smartwater
  • Spindrift Grapefruit Sparkling Water
  • Zevia Ginger Ale
  • Evolve Vanilla Bean Plant-Based Protein Shake
  • VitaCoco Original Coconut Water
  • Propel Immune Support Lemon Blackberry
  • The list is endless

With these and many more yet to come, the future of the functional beverage industry looks brighter and healthier.