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Unboxed: 5 trends driving beverage sales today

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Botanical flavors, functional ingredients, organic certification and new formats in tea and coffee are just some of the things consumers are on the hunt for in the beverage aisle.

Natural product industry beverages have long been at the fore of innovation in terms of flavor profiles, functional add-ins and wellness-promoting attributes and profiles. Consumers aren't just out to whet their whistles in today's beverage aisle, they also want to boost performance, health, nutrition or pleasure through optimized, clean ingredients and innovative flavor profiles.

Here are five of the trends that we see driving beverages today and offering consumers more in every sip.

For more insights, trends and product innovations in beverages, watch the on-demand replay of the Discover Beverages: Trends and Innovative Products session at Natural Products Expo West Virtual Week

1. Botanical Waters

Health-focused consumers are shying away from sugary drinks and looking to simple still and/or sparkling, botanical-infused waters. The key here is unsweetened, with more and more brands saying no to added sugars and sugar alts and alcohols.

From left to right: Asarasi Sparkling Tree Water Organic Sparkling Lime, Rishi Tea Sparkling Botanicals Elderberry Maqui, Ayala's Cloves Cardamom Cinnamon Herbal Water, V20 Sparkling Balsamic Water Sicilan Lemon. 

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2. Functional Organics

Functional beverage brands in particular understand that organic certification is a big part of answering consumer desire for enhanced wellness. 

From left to right: Remedy Organics Berry Immunity, Rowdy Mermaid Chamonile Lime Adaptonic, Karuna Avo-Keto Whole Plant Smoothie.
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3. Coffee four ways

RTD cold-brew coffee is still a growing trend, despite the temporary drop in sales of these grab-and-go favorites during early pandemic days. Creativity continues beyond RTD though and innovation thrives in a variety of formats.

From left to right: High Brew Black and Bold Coffee Self-Heating Can, Nexe Xoma Superfoods (image source Facebook), Califia Farms Unsweetened Mushroom Coffee, Our Gorongosa Girls Run the World Medium Roast Coffee.
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4. Tea, the new coffee

RTD tea is catching up to the innovation found in the coffee category. Cold brews, nitro offerings, functional add-ins and appealing plant-based milk blends are making the cold tea category hot again.

From left to right: Twrl Milk Tea Hojicha Roasted Green Tea, Enroot Sparkling Cold Brew Tea Revitalize, Rise Brewing Co. London Fog Nitro Earl Grey Tea Oat Milk Latte.
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5. The happiest hour

Immunity might be top of mind, but that doesn’t mean alcohol sales haven’t boomed amid the pandemic. These natural brands offer innovative flavor profiles and better-for-you approaches to imbibing.

From left to right: Square One Organic Spirits Cucumber Therapy Cocktail, Zaddy's Gin Sonic, Troop Rum Mojito, Lunar Hard Seltzer Lychee.
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natural products expo virtual logoView the on-demand replay of the Discover Beverages: Trends and Innovative Products session in its entirety here. Check out upcoming Natural Products Expo Virtual events and learn more about the platform here.
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