The beverage industry is one of the fastest-growing and largest in global economies. In the United States, the industry has evolved from the traditional setting to a multi-million enterprise. Many beverage products that were non-existent just a few years ago are rapidly dominating the shelves.
Like all trades in this civilization, the beverage industry is ever evolving and with each year comes newer methods of conducting business. These constant changes are tied to consumer behaviors. Consumer taste and preferences are transitioning. Increased awareness and technological advances are influencing choices and causing major changes in the way the industry operates.
These trends present opportunities for growth in the industry. However rapid and continuous these changes have been, three key trends that have remained constant over time are explained below.
Sustainability is Paramount
Consumers’ have become more conscious of what they take into their bodies and, more importantly, how this impacts the environment. This has caused disruptions in the traditional ways of doing many things. Consumers now want more from their food and drinks. Health and wellness are the top priorities of consumers; therefore, they demand more functional products.
Also, environmental concerns about excess packaging and single-use plastics are influencing consumer’s choices on the kind of products they buy. The beverage industry is also responding by adopting methods that are eco-friendlier for all their processes. Studies indicate that about 23 percent of Americans’ buying choices are influenced by sustainability. This is an increase compared to previous years.
Online Sales Are The New Gold
Sales of beverage products in online stores have been observed to be on the increase. On Amazon, the best-selling products in the grocery category are beverages. Convenience stores used to be strongholds for most beverage purchases but recently, consumers are shifting to e-commerce platforms to attend to their needs. They are seeking convenience in more convenient ways. This has created a more efficient and effective channel to get products across to consumers. An example is the direct to consumer offering which small and startup beverage companies are taking advantage of to promote their products.
Increased Product Diversity and Mashups.
To meet up with the increasing demand for healthy and quality drinks, beverage companies are coming up with creative and innovative solutions. They are expanding their offerings by introducing newer formulations that satisfy the consumer’s cravings and desire for wellness and satisfaction. Brands now create product mashups and introduce premium offerings. Category definitions and prices are no longer constraints, thereby resulting in a growth spurt amidst the host of other opportunities available. Carbonated coffee drinks, sparkling coffee, and sparkling tea are products of such endeavors.
On a final note, consumers may not be demanding for beer and soda as frequently, but they still want ready-to-drink beverages that provide more nutrients and contain natural ingredients, lower calories, and sugar content at the same price. Beverage companies are also responding to these demands by creating products that offer new drinking experiences for consumers and, at the same time, drive growth and increase profits.