Customers Want ‘Functional’ Beverages

Shoppers are looking for drinks that serve a purpose.

November 25, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.— Functional beverages are growing in demand as consumers use food as medicine, reports The Packer. These beverages can include protein shakes, smoothies, kombucha and other drinks that help people recover from workouts, ease pain or serve as an anti-inflammatory.

“Heart health and gut health is becoming more and more important,” says Craig Carlson of Carlson Produce Consulting.

In grocery stores, functional beverages are everywhere: the natural food aisle, the dairy department, the refrigerated sections and the dry aisles. They are especially popping up in the produce department, which is growing at nearly 47% year over year. 

“Within the overall supermarket beverage category, all the sodas and carbonated beverages are flat to down,” Carlson said. “The functional beverages and waters are up about 10%. There’s a huge shift going on within the category.”

He adds that as retailers consider which beverages to put on shelves, he advises considering the ones with the most functionality. Consumers are looking for drinks that serve a purpose.

Another tip comes based off the time of year. Summer and fall are the most popular times of the year for beverage sales. Carlson suggests retailers consider displaying lemonade and cider earlier, before the actual start of the season, because as the weather changes, it will likely trigger people to think of that seasonal drink.