One of the most striking transformations in the natural food channel in recent years has been the healthy makeover of the beverage aisle. Once awash with ingredient- and sugar-heavy (followed by sweetener-heavy) teas, seltzers and the like, today’s brands are more in tune to consumers’ desire to live healthier lives. This means creating products that are not only free from sugars, sweeteners and other increasingly less-desirable ingredients, but that also have extra, wellness-promoting add-ins.
The result has been an explosion of innovation, characterized by RTD beverages that boast functional ingredients including botanicals, probiotics, adaptogens and macronutrients—among other things—offering consumers support in the form of clean energy, brain health, digestive ease, stress relief, sleep, immunity and more. In fact, a recent SPINS report indicates that sales of shelf-stable energy and other functional beverages is the fasted growing area, up $21.7 percent in 2019 in the natural channel.
And we’re not just talking about non-alcoholic beverages here. Alcoholic beverages have also been getting better-for-you makeovers with the use of functional and cleaner ingredients, time-honored techniques and important certifications like USDA Organic.
These five products reflect some of the hottest trends in RTD beverages right now.
This piece originally appeared on Food & Beverage Insider, a New Hope Network sister website. To read more expert analysis about this topic, check out "Drink up: Winning strategies for healthy beverages" digital magazine.