More than Thirst Quenchers
Today, beverages are so much more than a way to quench our thirst. Shoppers are forming new habits to support their sustainability initiatives, their social behavior, and more often than not, their health. As we analyze current beverage trends, here are 5 beverage categories whose stand-out growth rates have caught our eye in the past year.
1) Oat Milk
The massive growth of the plant-based movement has resulted in unprecedented innovation across many different categories, but it has really picked up steam in milk alternatives, which now make up 14% of total milk sales. One product that has demonstrated both its potential and staying power is oat milk, with staggering growth in both SPINS’ Natural Enhanced Channel at 293.7%, and the conventional channel at 345.2% growth in the last year.
Besides oat milk’s creamy-like texture, one reason consumers love this alternative is to support sustainability efforts, as it requires less water to produce than other plant-based milk alternatives. While brands like Chobani and Califia Farms have established themselves in this category, watch for more oat milk products to hit the shelves as sales skyrocket and innovation crosses over into other categories like oat-based creamers, ice cream, and more.
2) Craft Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Grabbing a beer with a friend has never been so easy for the sober and sober-curious, with non-alcoholic breweries like Athletic Brewing Co. and WellBeing Brewing Co. popping up over the last few years. SPINS has noticed an influx of non-alcoholic craft beers come through our product library recently, as consumers look to balance or limit their alcohol intake.
When looking at the SPINS Natural Enhanced Channel, we see that beers containing less than 2% alcohol by volume are up by 22.5%, and up by 31.0% in the Conventional Channel. Expect this growth to continue for people hoping to attain the same social aspect of grabbing a beer with a friend, while limiting their actual alcohol intake.
3) Shelf-Stable Drink Mix
While the stock-up period of March is old news for some of us, various states are tightening restrictions again, suggesting a second stock-up phase is possible. Even without another round of hoarding, longevity on the shelf remains a priority for shoppers as they continue to limit trips to the store. Additionally, some grab-and-go purchasing occasions have been eliminated as more people work and workout from home.
SPINS data shows over the last year drink mixes and concentrates have seen a 28.6% increase in the Natural Enhanced Channel. This includes all liquid mixers like SweetLeaf’s Liquid Stevia, and powdered drink concentrates like Ultima Replenisher’s keto electrolyte mix. The growth of these products is even stronger in the Natural Enhanced Channel when these drinks are tagged with no artificial sweeteners; up by 29.1%! We expect to see beverage consumption trends like this to continue in a post-pandemic world as more people work remotely and avoid public spaces.
The combination of pandemic shopping and the summer heat has made waves in water. SPINS has seen double-digit growth for non-carbonated flavored (+14.4%), sparkling (+15.3%), and flavored sparkling water (+22.3%) in the past year. This comes as consumers who are spending more time at home perceive “fancier” waters like Rethink Water (non-carbonated flavored), Topo Chico (sparkling), or Waterloo (flavored sparkling) as a bit of a luxury in which they can indulge. Another driver could be that while there is a price premium on these products, it’s not so large as to dampen sales as wallets tighten with rising unemployment and economic uncertainty.
5) Functional Beverages: Probiotics
Today’s shoppers are taking their health into their own hands and using food and beverages as medicine. Looking at beverage trends, we have seen a steady rise in functional beverages since 2018, but one trend gaining major steam is beverages with probiotics. Probiotics (good bacteria) increase gut health and regulate the immune system.
Whether it’s kombucha or kvass, consumers are catching on to the fact that these products improve gut health. In SPINS’ Natural Enhanced Channel, there has been a 6.3% increase in sales of functional beverages with a functional ingredient of probiotic supplement from last year. In a post-pandemic world, we’ll likely see consumers increasingly buy immune-regulating, probiotic beverages from brands like Suja or Goodbelly to help suppress sickness before it starts.
RELATED VIDEO: Aspire Drinks on Functional Ingredients
Brands: Know Where You Stand
The trends are pointing to more of the same in these categories. Whether it's innovation in milk alternatives to support sustainability demands or more control over health and immunity with functional beverages, these category trends are here to stay. Regardless of your category, it's critical to know where you stand.
That's where SPINS data comes in.
With a SPINS data package, you have access to the competitive insights that help you see who you’re up against. When you share this information with retailers, you not only build your case as a brand that knows the marketplace but also as someone with an effective business strategy.
SPINS understands that shopper-centric attributes are essential to product innovation and retail relationships. Our product intelligence is second to none, and when you partner with SPINS, your data package gives you access to the most popular ingredient and attribute information.
Read more about essential data points here and get in touch using the form below to speak with an expert about your brand's growth.
related case studies
Retailers: Join the Network
Retailers who join the SPINS Retailer Network reflect these and other trends on their shelves as they emerge. Access to trends and insights is just one benefit of joining.
When you understand what matters to consumers right now—whether it’s dietary choices or ingredient preferences—you can identify which products to research, try, and get on your shelves as quickly as possible.
Because SPINS data lets you take a deep dive into changing habits and preferences, you can ensure you’re stocking upcoming and current in-demand products in place of underperforming products. Armed with a clear view of the market, you can make more informed decisions about assortment, promotion, and pricing.
It's free to join the SPINS Retail Network and you can get started simply by filling out the form below.