This rise of Functional Elixirs is one case in point, with the global functional beverage market projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.96% between 2020 and 2025 (source: Mordor Intelligence). Immune system-boosting ingredients have come to the fore, providing a way for consumers to feel reassured that they are doing their best to maintain their health.
‘Immunity is one of the hottest topics out there now, and flavours that consumers recognise as immunity-boosting, such as turmeric, elderberry, echinacea, citrus and berry flavours, will perform well with people who are looking for a quick fix in their diet,’ says Alex Massumoto, marketing associate at Synergy Flavors.
Jin Jin cordial, meanwhile, is a brand working to bring the benefits of cultured enzymes to drinks. The cordial uses a traditional fermentation technique from Japan, and combines more than 35 fruits, vegetables and mushrooms as well as lactobacillus – a super-probiotic that defends the body from unwanted bacteria, aids digestion and bolsters nutrient absorption.
Looking ahead, as this marriage of two formerly conflicting attitudes – health and hedonism – continues to develop, it could lead to a raft of new concepts that reshape the drinks industry for good. Whether it’s the rise of Anti-viral Vintners making immune-boosting drinks their niche or Wellness Sommeliers providing advice on the physical and psychological impact of a cocktail, opportunities abound.
While people are concerned with their own personal immunity, it’s also evident that a desire for balance is driving demand for ingredients that benefit the health of the environment too. With the power of science front of mind, in 2021 there will be renewed interest in spirits made in the lab. Spirits-makers will go back to the drawing board, taking a creative approach and using new scientific and technological discoveries to develop new distillation and production processes.
Bespoken Spirits, for instance, uses data science to create bespoke spirits in days from any base spirit without the need for maturation or distilling; the less-impactful process benefits the environment and boasts a mind-blowing 17bn potential combinations to try. Meanwhile, spirits brand Endless West – a group of ‘scientists, sommeliers, writers, chefs, and grad school dropouts creating the next generation of spirits’ – aims to create alcohol without the need for conventional production methods and by using a fraction of the usual resources.
Whether innovating around flavour, function or production processes, what’s clear from the direction of the market is that instead of returning to a new normal, drinks brands are grasping the opportunity to build the next extraordinary. In doing so, they’re giving 2021 its own unique flavour and ensuring that the industry will never look the same again.
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