4 innovations to watch in natural beverages

4 innovations to watch in natural beverages

The year 2011 may have shown lackluster innovation in the natural beverage space, but certain categories (think: energy) still showed growth and plenty of opportunity. Here's what's on tap for 2012.

As we take time to reflect on the year 2011 for natural beverages, we really had less innovation and new beverage creations than past years. Reasons could include the downturn in the economy and consumer reluctance to spend outside the staple list of grocery items. Also, corporate America tightened its belt, choking off innovation and new product launches in order to support current brands.

So it is with anticipation that I look toward 2012 to once again energize the innovation spirit—to both create and bring forth some new consumer options. Lest we forget, 2011 did have some new products hit the shelves such as MiO (from Kraft), a squeeze bottle that dosed flavors to enhance water; or new “double-strength” energy shots that rang out loud and clear from 5 Hour Energy and Monster. There was also packaging innovation in dosing technology from Activate and coconut water’s explosion onto the scene, funded by big brother beverage giants Coke, Pepsi and DPSG.

Beverage innovations for 2012

  • This year, 2012 could see more players entering the dosing cap technology space, with major brands now considering it to increase shelf life, ingredient freshness and add “just plain fun” to drinking liquids.
  • More innovative mixes using aloe vera will emerge as well, because aloe has finally come to the surface in beverages after spending many years as additive in topicals and ingestables.
  • "Beauty from within" products, now mostly in R&D, will emerge soon to bring simplicity to pill-poppers and cream applicators.
  • Finally, some innovation may come to market in adding functional ingredients to soft drinks, which is both long overdue and a natural evolution for the world’s biggest and most frequently consumed beverage.

Here's to a robust innovation and beverage introduction run in 2012! It’s overdue.

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