Better-for-You Beverages for Wellness-Minded Consumers 8/30/2017
In the same way that wellness has permeated the snack and dry grocery categories, as I touched on in my previous post from ECRM’s Summer Snack & Dry Grocery EPPS, it’s also driving much of the activity in the beverage category.
According to retailers and suppliers interviewed during the ECRM Beverage EPPS, consumers are seeking more transparency, more functionality, and more sustainable practices around the beverages they purchase, whether it’s vitamin-enhanced water, energy drinks, or ready-to-drink coffee and tea. The common theme among most of the attendees was that wellness was the driving force behind beverage sales today.
Andrew Mandzy, Director of Strategic insights – Health & Wellness for Nielsen, noted during his educational session during the EPPS that several factors are driving this health and wellness movement. First, there is the aging population, with 16 percent over the age of 65 today. Then there are chronic diseases – like diabetes, hypertension, and digestive health issues – which are experienced by four out of every 10 households. On top of this, rising healthcare costs are driving consumers to be more proactive about their health. Finally, there is the demand for transparency partially driven by the Internet, which enables consumers to quickly and easily find information about the products they are considering (see video below).
Here are some of the ways, according to Nielsen’s Mandzy, in which these factors are driving beverage purchases:
Focus on Transparency, Sustainability
Because of this greater focus on wellness, shoppers demand more transparency and clean labels; they are shying away from artificial ingredients and are doing more research on the ingredients that are in the products they purchase. “They are shifting away from conventional products and toward those with more health and wellness-related claims,” says Mandzy. “This is also leading retailers to improve their private label offerings to be more transparent, whether they are organic or natural or non-GMO. And shoppers are willing to pay more for this transparency.”
The same goes for products made with sustainable practices. Nielsen found that sales of products with sustainable messages are up 7.2 percent. These messages include a variety of factors, such as using recycled materials, Fair Trade and ethical business practices, or a low carbon footprint.
The ECRM/MMR Buyers Choice Award winner, Bottlegreen, is an example of one such company, as it uses recycled water to rinse and sterilize its bottles, saving upwards of one million gallons of water per year.
Other key trends noted by retailers and suppliers attending the Beverage EPPS include:
- Alkaline water (such as Buyers Choice Award Finalist MoodWater’s naturally alkaline Canadian Spring water – the company seeks to add fun to bottled water consumption be socially-shareable packaging printed with “Moodicons” with related hashtags, such as #grumpy or #silly.)
- Plant-based hydration – which addresses the growing vegan trend.
- Maple-infused beverages
- Coconut water and energy drinks: These have been popular for a while, and suppliers continue to develop new varieties to keep interest strong
- Cold brew coffee and tea
- Private label water