Drink to Your Health

Brands tout functional beverages as ways to de-stress, lower anxiety and stay healthy.

June 30, 2021

Pulling Drink out of Refrigerator

CHICAGO—More and more beverage brands are trying to soothe away the stress of daily life, promoting themselves as providing energy for the day or calmness to fall asleep. Whether it will boost your health or lower your stress, beverages have become more functional, Ad Week reports.

In February, 38% of U.S. adults surveyed indicated they’d reached for a drink to get more energy, up from 32% in 2020, according to Mintel. Beverages claiming to provide relaxation or sleep-inducing properties have also seen gains during the past year.

The bump in functional beverages shows “just how much help people need to get through their day when everything is just so disrupted,” said Karen Formanski, a health and nutrition analyst at Mintel. The trend of consumers wanting functional beverages has been growing for a several years now but got a boost in late 2019 and early 2020.

Beverage manufacturers have taken notice and are heavily promoting drinks with an added boost. For example, PepsiCo has expanded its energy drink line, including the Rockstar brand it bought last year, with commercial support. “We spent a lot of time with consumers researching and understanding the energy drink consumer, and there’s more need for energy than ever before,” said Greg Lyons, CMO of PepsiCo Beverages North America.

Energy drink sales grabbed $15.4 billion for the 52-week period ended May 1, a 13% jump from the year-ago 52-week period, according to NielsenIQ. IRI research found energy drinks accounted for six of the 10 bestselling new products in convenience stores in 2020.

Other drink companies are pushing stress-relief in beverage form, including drinks infused with hemp or CBD. PepsiCo’s new Driftwell aims to help people relax with a campaign of animated creatures, while Coca-Cola’s Smartwater+ line claims to provide clarity, renewal or tranquility to customers.

The momentum for functional beverages continues to grow, with more than half of U.S. adults considering these drinks as more appealing than the usual mineral, supplement and vitamin products, according to Mintel.

See what brands are leading inside sales in convenience stores in the just-released July issue of NACS Magazine.

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