2018’s biggest beverage trends from GlobalData

Research by Jonathan Davison, Beverage Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, has identified the defining beverage market trends in 2018.

Top of list was how much companies have diversified their product offerings following shifts in consumer attitudes towards health and wellness. For example, Coca-cola delivered on its promise to become a ‘total beverage company’ through acquisitions across multiple industry sectors including dairy alternatives, energy and juice drinks and its acquisition of Costa Coffee for £3.9bn.

A topic on everyone’s minds, not just in the beverage market, is the battle against waste, particularly in packaging. The strength of consumer demand for sustainable packaging solutions is driven by industry collaboration and company innovation.

Over 100 brands signed up to the UK’s ‘Plastic Pact’, while PepsiCo joined Nestlé, Danone and Origin Materials in the NaturALL Bottle Alliance. When asked about the effect of a tax on plastic products, Davison found that 79% of global consumers indicated their shopping behavior would change.

In the UK, Government and industry have reflected this sentiment in a number of actions this year. The Government continues its consultation on a UK-wide deposit return scheme (DSR) for drinks containers. Starbucks introduced a ‘latte levy’ of 5p on single-use paper cups, Clipper Tea launched plastic-free teabags and consumers are increasingly more likely to go for a reusable cup for their coffee on the go.

Functional beverages continue to remain popular, with the perceived health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) driving a surge of interest amongst young consumers in 2018.  Constellation Brands and Molson Coors made significant investments in August and both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, while not actively exploring the segment, are keeping a close eye on its developments.

Interest in plant-based drinks has grown markedly in 2018, from non-vegetarians and vegetarians/vegans alike. Davison says market volumes are set to increase by 5% in 2018 after key developments from Starbucks with its launch of its Protein Blended Cold Brew, together with launches from PepsiCo and Coca-cola’s AdeZ and Innocent brands.

GlobalData’s report, ‘‘TrendSights Overview: Individualism & Expression – Exploring the impact the Individualism & Expression mega-trend has on innovation across the FMCG space, 2018, revealed that consumers are looking for more bespoke, individual experiences, with 61% of global consumers expressing an interest in creating their own products.

With over 170,000 ways to customize drinks in Starbucks stores alone, this isn’t a trend that will disappear any time soon. This concept could be widely adopted by ready-to-drink (RTD) formats, providing consumers with more choice by offering customization with convenience, such as tailoring the flavour and sugar content themselves by using a syrup-based sweetener stored in the cap as in Kolibri Drinks’ range of botanical beverages.

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