Many consumers are now actively looking to improve their overall health. People are now starting to understand that all aspects of health are interlinked and therefore taking a holistic health approach to their diets. They are doing this in many ways, which has led to a rise in people looking for more beneficial drinks which can offer functional benefits. So, how are people in the USA consuming functional beverages and what new innovations are they looking for? 

Functional juices and waters are now being consumed more by the everyday person. In 2017, 14% of consumers had a functional juices and waters on a weekly basis. This has now risen to 18% in 2019. Of these consumers in 2019, FMCG Gurus research shows that 35% of consumers are drinking functional juices/water more than they use to in the last 6 months. The rise in consumers drinking more functional drinks is because they are actively looking for products that offer more health benefits. This is seen as 70% of consumers associate these drinks with being healthier for them. One of the main health areas consumers in the USA are looking to improve is digestive health with 84% having looked at functional drinks to help improve digestive health.

There are many reasons why consumers are seeking our functional beverages. In the USA the top reasons to why they are choosing these products are to help them unwind and relax (44%), as they perceive these products as being higher quality (24%), and 22% see them as being less bad for them. Due to people now wanting better-for-me products they are now looking closer at the ingredients used. FMCG Gurus research shows that 60% of consumers check nutritional labelling on functional beverage products. One of the main concerns is the high levels of sugar (57%) and find stevia a more appealing alternative (56%).

When asked what makes a functional beverage more premium 75% of consumers said the product had to be zero sugar. This was closely followed by exotic flavors (70%). FMCG Gurus research shows that the top flavors associated with functional beverages are – red orange (57%), Strawberry (55%), and cucumber and watermelon (50%). Consumers prefer to drink these throughout the day but mainly in the afternoon between 12 and 5pm. five in ten consumers prefer these drinks to be chilled with 32% not having a preference.

Functional beverages are on the rise and there is an opportunity for brands to create innovative and functional beverage products. Consumers are now actively seeking better-for-me products as they look to reduce sugar consumption and look for products that help aid digestive health. Today’s society is busy, and rest and recuperation is hard to come by. Products that aid relaxation are becoming more popular as they look to improve their overall quality of life.

(This article is based on FMCG Gurus USA Non-Alcoholic Beverage survey 2019, 2017).