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Soft drinks trends 2022 - what will determine the market this year


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An active lifestyle that supports health and well-being is more significant than ever. This is reflected in the awareness of food and beverages - and thus in the Soft Drinks Trends 2022. Creative taste experiences are also at the top of the list. Get inspired for your product development!

Megatrends such as increased mindfulness in relation to health, "individualization" and "neo-ecology" are overarchingly determining the major developments in society. They influence the needs of consumers and thus also determine the Top Trends 2022 in the beverage sector - and consequently also the Soft Drink Trends 2022. Based on the latest data from international market research, we have summarized what consumers would like to put into their glasses now and in the future:

Functional Drinks - Focus on Immune Power

Soft drinks today should not only taste good, but in the best case scenario also score points as "functional drinks" with a plus in certain ingredients - for example, vitamins or minerals that support an active and conscious lifestyle as part of a balanced diet.


Functional drinks, including energy drinks, were among the strongest growth areas last year: According to Euromonitor, global sales of energy drinks increased rapidly in 2021, growing by 9 percent in volume terms. New flavour innovations continued to be key sales drivers, along with reduced (or sugar-free) branded variants.
Source: "World Market for Soft Drinks," Euromonitor International, 2022.

The ongoing Covid 19 pandemic continues to spark consumer interest in products related to a strong immune system: They also largely determine soft drink trends in 2022. This awareness can lead to relevant opportunities for the juices and soft drinks market in particular. 36 percent of U.K. consumers who drink fruit juice said in October 2020 that they had drunk more juice since the Covid-19 outbreak due to concerns about their immune system. This highlights how demand for juice has increased. Among 16- to 34-year-olds the number rises to sizable 47 percent.
Source: Kantar Profiles/Mintel, January 2021

Following product possibilities suit to the trend of active nutrition & functional drinks:

  • natural energy drinks
  • BCAA & EAA fortified beverages
  • functional juice shots
  • vitality drinks & near water
  • reduced calorie beverages

Consumers want to be in control
According to Mintel, consumers are now looking for clear and reliable indications that a product meets their ingredient preferences, moral values and/or health priorities: during a global health crisis, many people want more control over their well-being. This consumer need will drive demand for products that support both short- and long-term health goals. "Immune health will continue to be in demand in food and beverage claims," said Jenny Zegler of Mintel.
Source: "What the 2022 Consumer Trends mean for food and drink - Mintel's global food and drink experts explore how the 2022 Global Consumer Trends will impact food, drink and foodservice in the years ahead," Jenny Zegler, Mintel 2022

Ideally, the new soft drinks should not only be "free from" - that is, free of ingredients that could affect health and well-being in the long term and in quantity - but also support a holistic dietary style in terms of well-being and performance. In 2019, 19 percent of juice products launched already registered a functional claim. Trend: continuing to rise in 2022.

Drinks enriched with functional ingredients, such as protein drinks from plant sources, which are particularly popular with athletes as well as vegetarians or vegans, but also special drinks that contribute to the normal function of digestive enzymes or, for example, also to the maintenance of normal cognitive function, now meet important requirements of conscious consumers and strongly determine the soft drink trends in 2022.

Mindful consumption: You are (also) what you drink

Among conscious consumers, calorie-reduced soft drinks remain highly popular. Products that support rituals to reduce stress or shorten the time it takes to fall asleep are also among the soft drink trends of 2022 and are expected to be a preferred choice in shopping carts in the future. Working life has changed dramatically as a result of the megatrend "new work" and "digitalization," especially since the Corona pandemic and the accompanying home office. With increased flexibility, preventing stress and discovering mindfulness have become must-haves for mental and physical well-being.

In times of anti-aging and the need of many people to be "forever young," beverages containing ingredients such as collagen, but also certain dietary fibers or selected secondary phytochemicals, are promising for new product development. In appropriate quantities, they can help to prevent accelerating natural aging process and contribute to a holistic, conscious lifestyle. Since the body of an adult human being consists of 60 to 70 percent water, it is in any case necessary to consume sufficient liquid to maintain physical and cognitive functions. Functionally enriched, water-based beverages can contribute to this.

With the trend of "Mindful consumption" water in all its varieties is also experiencing a big boom: for example, flavoured water, water from special sources, vitamin water, water enriched with different flavours, and tea in all its variations are rising stars in the Soft Drink Trends 2022 and with their refreshing flavours, they ensure a varied and tasty hydration of the body. Water products also become even more attractive when enriched with natural ingredients.


Proteins: Now also more and more in beverages
It is noticeable that special, high-quality proteins are also increasingly appearing on the ingredient lists of the most promising products among the Soft Drink Trends 2022. Why? Protein is a vital nutrient for the body. While meat and animal products were once the main source of daily protein intake, meat consumption is steadily declining worldwide. Those who follow not only a vegetarian, but also a vegan diet, and thus do without animal protein altogether, need high-quality proteins from plant sources for a balanced diet. The application possibilities of purely plant-based proteins in a wide range of beverage categories are increasing, so this trend segment can be pushed further.

Plant-based ingredients such as oats, various herbs, coconut water, birch water and milk substitutes in general, as well as new and "old" superfoods - including turmeric, beet, rosehip, haskap berry or moringa - will appear more frequently on the ingredient lists of soft drinks in the future.

AUSTRIA JUICE offers a great variety of beverages by serving the trend of mindful consumption: 

  • beauty drinks with collagen
  • near water beverages
  • plant based protein drinks
  • beverage with haskapberry
  • carrot-mix-juices

Taste Experiences: Let yourself be surprised!

With the megatrend “individualization”, people want to experience themselves in all their facets - and share their experiences with their personal community on social media. This "thirst for adventure" does not stop at the food and beverage industry and noticeably determines the soft drink trends in 2022. Repeated lockdowns and travel restrictions have intensified the thirst for new experiences. As a result, the interest in rituals that combine enjoyment and experience has also increased.

More than half of German consumers say they actively seek out new taste experiences, fueling the trend toward new hybrid beverages. One notable highlight from the bar scene here, for example, is the Espressotini, a cocktail consisting of espresso and vodka served in a martini glass.

Coffee as the new beverage favourite
Many consumers have also missed the classic coffee shop experience. In the wake of the lockdowns, making coffee at home has taken on a higher profile. Many coffee drinkers have more or less become their own baristas: today, for example, no one can get past Dalgona Coffee or even the protein drink "Proffee." Particularly in the case of indulgent drinks, which include many hot beverages, visual presentation is becoming increasingly important for social media.
Source: 3 Beverage Trends for 2022, Julia Buech Mintel, 2022.

Textures make the difference
It is also clear that the Soft Drink Trends 2022, that specifically target and support a momentum such as relaxation or the experience of an activity such as gaming or sports are becoming more popular. In addition, familiar product types with novel ingredients or nostalgic flavours are catering to the need for comfort.

The desire to experiment can also be expressed in colour and texture that takes consumers on a taste journey, for example, in the form of nitrogen-infused coffee in cans. Consumers want to try and experience new textures in new products to enjoy a sense of adventure.

This is also accompanied by the fact that the appearance, texture and ingredients of drinks are increasingly adapted to different age groups. Among other things, we now find soft drinks especially for children and seniors that are increasingly tailored to the needs of the relevant age group.

The great revival of DIY products was mainly triggered by the enthusiasm of bloggers and influencers to experiment and is noticeable in the Soft Drinks Trends 2022 in the form of both traditional and innovative home made or home made-like products.

Soft drink trends 2022 are also strongly influenced by pairing & fusion: Dishes merge with perfectly matched drinks to create a symphony of tastes. With non-alcoholic drinks, premium tea creations or mocktails ranging from fruity to floral to sour and herbal, offer new possibilities to complement exquisite dishes.

Mixology has also seen an upswing: 44 percent of Irish alcohol-drinking consumers find at-home cocktail kits appealing.
Source: "A year of innovation in juice & beverage concentrates, immune-support claims continue to gain profile, while zero-sugar claims rise and brands target in-home mixologists," Amrin Walji, Mintel 2022

Products serving the trend of "taste experiences" are for example: 

  • Mixers (Tonics etc.)
  • non-alcoholic, creative beer-mix drinks
  • Cold Brew Coffee
  • Cold Brew Tea

Premium by Nature: natural & sustainable

Thanks to the Internet, more and more information is available, and the increasing preoccupation with oneself and environmentally relevant issues also leads, as a logical consequence, to the fact that the origin of ingredients become more and more important.

Consumers today are quite prepared to pay a higher price for high-quality products that can be bought with a clear conscience. Short transport routes as well as local, seasonal fruit, plastic reduction and traceable, ethically correct, sustainable and as simple as possible production are the focus of increasingly critical consumers. Transparency plays a key role, whether in terms of processes or clean label and now also with the introduction of nutriscore labelling.
Sustainability Download

Holistic concepts and initiatives that support the aspect of sustainability in the sense of social and ecological responsibility are on the rise. Consumers will focus on brands that go beyond CO2 neutrality. Seasonal and regional products with short transportation distances and nature-based farming methods can help strive for climate neutrality and even climate negativity.

For example, according to Mintel, 62 percent of Colombian consumers rate "environmentally friendly packaging" as a top priority when choosing food and beverages.
Source: "A year of innovation in juice & beverage concentrates, immune-support claims continue to gain profile, while zero-sugar claims rise and brands target in-home mixologists," Amrin Walji, Mintel 2022

Please Low or No Sugar
The days of consumers unthinkingly consuming gallons of high-calorie lemonades and other soft drinks are gone. 30 percent of U.S. adults report that low-sugar products have become more important to them. It's no coincidence that beverage concentrates with sugar-free claims have seen an increase in launches over the past year, according to Mintel.
Source: "A year of innovation in juice & beverage concentrates, immune-support claims continue to gain profile, while zero-sugar claims rise and brands target in-home mixologists," Amrin Walji, Mintel 2022

Energy drinks with reduced sugar content grew an impressive 16 percent globally in 2021. Eastern Europe, where local and low-cost energy drinks are gaining market share, was a particularly impressive market in 2021, with energy drinks growing 17 percent.
Source: "World Market for Soft Drinks," Euromonitor International, 2022.

Product concepts that serve the trend of "Premium by Nature" are for example:

  • 100% juices
  • Organic lemonades
  • Hop lemonades
  • Cold Brew Tea
  • NFC/Direct juices
  • FTNF Flavors
  • Extracts & Botanicals

Conclusion Soft Drink Trends 2022:

Personal well-being, conscious consumption, naturalness, transparency and sustainability on the one hand, and taste variety and experiences on the other, are the major key factors for current product development in the beverage market. The pandemic has brought the interest in products related to a strong immune system to the forefront: soft drinks such as fruit juices are now intended to contribute to a healthy lifestyle by not containing certain ingredients and instead being enriched with minerals or vitamins, for example. The origins of the ingredients used should be natural and plant-based. Soft drinks rise on the popularity scale when they are produced as simply as possible, sustainably and according to ethical standards. Extraordinary taste experiences are becoming increasingly important. So manufacturers are allowed to be creative and brave with unusual flavour combinations and new pairing concepts!

FMCG Gurus

Julia Wurzer

Julia WurzerAuthor

Marketing Manager

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