Over the past 10 to 20 years, the ripples of change in the global soft drinks market have threatened to become tidal waves, with new categories emerging constantly and genuine novelty flooding the shelves.
According to a new report from Innova Market Insights, which highlights that in the global shift in soft drinks, juices and carbonates may still be the two most active sub-categories worldwide but growth is clearly much faster in alternative areas. For example, Ready-to-drink (RTD) sports drinks saw launch numbers increase at a CAGR of 26% over 2014-2018, compared with 12% CAGR for iced tea and coffee and 10% CAGR for ‘other’ soft drinks, including novelties such as herbal drinks, jelly drinks and vinegar drinks.
Flavor trends also demonstrate the changing face of the market. The fastest growing flavors in recent years include matcha tea (+49% CAGR 2013-2018), apple cider vinegar (+21% CAGR) and kombucha (+21% CAGR), all of which are thriving concepts from Asia that are now distinguishing themselves on a global platform.
As well as the emergence of new categories, overlap between existing varieties is continuing. ‘Hello Hybrids’, one of Innova’s Top 10 Trends for 2020, is perhaps nowhere as important as in the soft drinks arena. ‘Category definitions are blurring all the time,’ says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “For example, in the US, Odwalla has recently developed the Smoobucha, which is a blend of fruit smoothie with fermented kombucha.”
At the same time, as suppliers seek new platforms for success, segmentation is also changing the face of the soft drinks shelves. For example, Water+ is an established concept but is continuing to evolve beyond vitaminization and added energy, with fiber, probiotics, collagen and mood ingredients all finding their way into modern waters.
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