The year that was 2012 held many companies to higher standards than ever before when it came to healthy ingredients, sustainable packaging and even what types of vehicles they use to transport beverages. More and more people are checking ingredients and holding companies to high sustainability standards, it looks like 2013 will be much the same as 2012 with a couple interesting quirks.
Oat Drinks: When you think of oats in your drinks you might only think of the grains in brewed beverages like beer, but oat drinks might be one of the most interesting breakthroughs in the beverage industry we’ve seen lately. From the 2012 breakthrough Sneaky Pete’s oat-based fruit flavored juice, to the National Restaurant Association Food and Beverage Product Innovation of the year Simpli OatShakes, oat based drinks will continue to not only make people rethink oats but also be an interesting breakthrough for the beverage industry. Oat drinks not only get the value of being seen as very healthy but they also have the ability to be used in many different ways, from teas and smoothies to even milk substitutes.
Push All Natural: This has been a trend for the past few years and it continues to be increasingly important. Whether your product is 100% natural or uses natural ingredients it should be promoted even in drinks that people know to be less than healthy like sodas and beers. It should be noted that the word “natural” holds very little actual value since the word is not regulated in the U.S. However, companies should be sure to use the word wisely, as we’ve seen with other products. If you promote your product as all natural and it has items many consider to be “not natural” there will be push back. However, there are guides that can be useful from the Natural Ingredients Resource Center to consider when labeling your products.
Promoting Sustainability: There are many ways that a company is sustainable, from reducing your water usage to reducing the amount of paper you use administratively – it’s becoming something to talk about; so talk about it! If you’ve reduced administrative paper usage by 30% by storing files online instead of printing them, make sure it’s promoted. If your beverages use recyclable or compostable packaging, make sure it is known. The other benefit from this is that it often saves money over the long term when you reduce water/paper/energy/fuel consumption. This is not only a great thing for marketing and the environment but also your companies bottom line.
Sleep Improvement Drinks: One trend that goes against one of things we’ve been seeing over the past few years is finding drinks that HELP you sleep. Over the past few years it has been all about energy drinks and that pendulum is about to swing back, or at least balance. This is not to say that we’ll see deep decreases in energy drinks, in fact the coffee industry is booming right now, but people are beginning to find that a good night sleep can be more productive than the jitters of energy drinks. You’ll find drinks that are high in amino acids, melanin, and various decaffeinated teas will see an increase in sales because of their relaxing, sleep regulating and muscle relaxing qualities.
While there are plenty of other trends, these trends are high on our lists for what to watch for in 2013. What are some other trends you’re seeing in the beverage industry?