Beverage Trends: Functional Ingredients Attract Wellness-Minded Shoppers

May 3, 2022
by SPINS Marketing

Omnichannel Data Gives Beverage Brands Insights

To today’s shoppers, brick-and-mortar and online stores each bring benefits depending on what they’re buying and when. That’s long been apparent for household items and clothing. However, it’s also proven to be true for beverage. Shoppers aren’t just buying milk and soft drinks at the grocery store anymore, but they’re also not necessarily buying everything online either. That’s why an omnichannel view of both is essential to brands wishing to stay competitive and build a long-term growth strategy. 

Using SPINS Omni-Intelligence data, we identified beverage trends happening in brick-and-mortar stores as well as on Amazon at the category and subcategory levels:  

Shelf-Stable Functional Beverages Spur Category Growth

Functional beverages, which are beverages that provide an additional health or wellness benefit beyond quenching your thirst, have taken center stage over the past few years as the food-as-medicine mindset gained steam. The trend didn’t start in 2020 but it certainly reached a critical mass with shoppers eager to prioritize wellness during a hectic time—and will continue to grow. Food as medicine means each shopper can decide which better-for-you product suits their personal wellness goals.  

Sales for shelf-stable functional beverages grew 20% year-over-year in brick-and-mortar stores and 55% on Amazon. Brick-and-mortar stores provide a chance for shoppers to discover new products, try single-serve packages, and take advantage of grab-and-go options. Online shopping is a convenient option once shoppers have found their favorite brands and products and are ready to commit to larger case counts or take advantage of bulk pricing. 


Energy Drinks Lead Subcategory Momentum

Energy drinks are longtime staples for anyone needing an extra jolt to get through their day, have a good workout, or stay awake for a late night out. This beverage subcategory attracted a new audience when manufacturers brought health and wellness mindset to their new products. Year-over-year sales for the Energy and Other Functional Beverages subcategory were up 24% in brick-and-mortar stores and up 53% on Amazon. Adding functional ingredients like nootropics and mushrooms appealed to natural shoppers online and in storefronts. It also opened the door for other functional beverages that offer more benefits, such as relaxation and digestive support.  


Related: SPINS Product Attributes Glossary: Understand Your Shoppers’ Needs

Omnichannel Data Helps Brands Grow and Compete

You can gain further insights into trends that go even deeper than category and subcategory if you look at attributes. Attribute trends reveal product performance based on ingredients, positioning, and label claims so you can understand what matters to consumers. For example, year-over-year sales for nootropics were up 168% and up 104% for mushrooms, while organic was up 2%. This tells you that those functional ingredients appeal to shoppers and rank high on their priority list. Insights like these can help as you innovative and iterate products now and in the future.  

SPINS Omni-Intelligence has a comprehensive market view of categories and attributes from Amazon mapped to the SPINS hierarchy. In fact, with SPINS you can explore 10 beverage categories, 49 subcategories, and dig into attributes. Use this complete view to identify growth opportunities, gain sightlines into competitors, and understand long- and short-term trends.