Consumer preferences and lifestyles have shifted since the pandemic, with a rising trend towards healthier choices. For example, there has been an increased demand for low-sugar, natural, and organic soft drinks, while consumers are also seeking functional beverages that offer added health benefits, such as enhanced hydration or specific nutrients.
Furthermore, the availability of a wide range of flavours has attracted consumers, providing them with options that cater to their individual tastes and preferences.
Consumers are prioritising health by taking a proactive approach to their well-being. For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal 63% of global consumers classify themselves as 'proactive' consumers, as they are looking to improve their health even if they are not suffering from health problems.
As a result, proactive consumers are looking for conveniently nutritious soft drinks, with multiple health claims. To cater to this, soft drink brands must look to promote active nutrition in these product categories, while highlighting maximum efficacy.
Transparency and Streamlined Ingredient Lists
Streamlined ingredient lists are of high appeal among consumers, as they indicate the product is natural, healthier, and better for the environment. Free-from claims are also of high appeal to consumers as they deem these products raw and pure.
For example, FMCG Gurus’ market research demonstrates 60% of global consumers find 'natural' claims appealing, followed by 52% who like to see 'free-from additives' claims.
However, with many consumers adopting proactive approaches to their health, they are becoming more attentive to health claims. This is leading to increased skepticism, as a result of many 'health-washing' scandals. To respond to this, health and wellness brands in the soft drinks sector must provide transparency, by backing up their health claims with clinically-proven scientific evidence.
Additionally, ensuring claims and labels on the packaging are kept simple and clear is essential in combatting consumer skepticism around exaggerated health claims disguised by complex labelling.
Sustainability As The Core Philosophy
Consumer concern for the state of the environment is ever-increasing. As a result, awareness of the impact of the food and drink production industries are becoming more apparent. As a result of this, brands must place sustainability at the core of their philosophy.
For instance, FMCG Gurus’ consumer insights reveal that 74% of global consumers find sustainability claims and pledges 'important' when choosing between beverage products.
Also, consumers are beginning to realise that sustainability and health are linked and that soft drinks that are 'better for the environment' are likely to also be 'better for you'. Therefore, sustainability claims will help to also shape perceptions of value.
While consumers prioritise their health, taste and enjoyment are other key attributes for consumers when seeking out beverages. If brands can produce drinks that offer both taste and health simultaneously, consumers will deem these products as conveniently nutritious and guilt-free, and therefore enhance value perceptions.
Article by Kate Kehoe, Marketing Executive at FMCG Gurus. This article is based on FMCG Gurus: Health & Wellness Trends in the Soft Drinks Market. For more information, please contact [email protected].