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Soft Drink Trends 2020 - what's coming in the new year


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The active improvement of physical and mental health, creative tastes and nature-based drinks are on the top of the new trends for Soft drinks for the new year. Be inspired for your product development!

Megatrends such as "health", "individualization" and "neo-ecology" determines
the major developments on the beverage market.
We have summarized data from international market research, what consumers would like to fill in their glasses now and in the future:

Soft Drink Trends 2020_Individualization

1. Active Nutrition: The new super drinks

Today, soft drinks are not only supposed to taste good, but as “functional drinks” they should also perform like medicine drinks. The new soft drinks should not only be "free from" - that is, free of ingredients that damage health in the long term and in quantity - they should even actively improve physical and mental fitness through specially selected ingredients. In 2019, 19 percent of the juice products launched already had a functional claim!

Beverages enriched with functional ingredients such as protein drinks from vegetable sources, but also special drinks that improve sleep, digestion, concentration, memory and heart health, now meet important priorities of health-conscious consumers and are very much in vogue.

Consumers are increasingly living according to the motto "You are what you drink", and so low-sugar soft drinks are still very popular. Products with a stress-relieving effect should also end up in shopping trolleys in the future. Working life has changed significantly due to the megatrend "New Work" and "Digitalisation”. Due to the increasing flexibility the prevention of stress and the discovery of mindfulness is a "must-have" for mental health and physical well-being. Soft drinks can help!

In time of anti-aging and the need of many people to be “forever young”, soft drinks that beautify the skin also have a magnetic effect on people who are conscious of beauty. Ingredients such as collagen in tasty mixtures, but also certain fiber as well as selected secondary plant substances are hot commodities for product development.

It is striking that special high-quality proteins are increasingly on the ingredient lists. 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 decreasing worldwide. If you eat not only vegetarian, rather vegan and therefore completely live without animal protein, you need high-quality proteins from plant sources for a balanced diet.

In the United States, 35 percent of consumers would already buy drinks that contain extra protein. Nuts, seeds, legumes, soybeans as well as cereals and pseudo-cereals such as quinoa are the preferred origins of the "new protein".

In connection with "mindful drinking", water in all variants is experiencing a big boom: For example, water with taste, water from special sources, vitamin water, water enriched with different flavors, and tea in all variations ensure an ongoing, varied and tasty hydration of the body. In addition, water products become even more attractive when they are enriched with naturally healthy ingredients.

Plant-based ingredients such as oats, various herbs, coconut water, birch water, pine water and milk substitutes in general as well as new and "old" superfoods - including turmeric, beetroot, rosehip or moringa - will therefore be on the ingredient lists of soft drinks more often in the future!

2. Taste Experiences: Let yourself be surprised!

With the megatrend of 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.

According to Euromonitor, 59.8 percent of those under 44 years say that they spend money on “experiences” and therefore prefer creative, exciting and unusual tastes. The willingness to experiment can also be expressed in colour and texture, for example in the form of canned nitrogen-enriched coffee, i.e. nitrogen-infused coffee!

This goes hand in hand with the fact that the quality of the beverages in terms of appearance, texture and ingredients is increasingly being adapted to different age groups. Now, among other things, we find soft drinks especially for children and seniors, which are tailored to the appropriate age depending on the needs of the body.

The great revival of DIY products was triggered above experimentation of bloggers and influencers and is noticeable in the soft drinks in the form of both traditional and innovative home made or home made-like products.

3. Mindful Consumption: Soft drinks for a clear conscience

The internet provides more and more information and the increasing concern with oneself and environmentally relevant topics leads to the fact that it no longer matters where the ingredients come from.

Today people are quite willing 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 fruits, plastic reduction and a comprehensible, ethically correct, sustainable and as simple as possible production and clean label with the introduction of nutrition labeling are the focus of the assessment of the increasingly critical consumers.
For example, 47 percent of UK consumers have an active interest in knowing more about the origin of the ingredients of fruit juices.

4. Premium by Nature: Plant-based wins!

The demand for high-quality, plant-based ingredients and flavours from nature goes hand in hand with the new demands of consumers. Colouring foods and natural preservatives and methods are clearly preferred over artificial colours and preservatives. Soft drinks with plant extracts and direct juices with few and little processed ingredients make up the new magic formula for bubbling profit!

Soft Drink Trends 2020_Ingredients

Conclusion Soft Drink Trends 2020:

Health, beauty, mindfulness and sustainability are the major pointers for product development on the beverage market. Today, soft drinks should not only be healthy by not containing certain ingredients, but also actively support certain bodily functions. The origins of the ingredients used should be natural and plant-based. Soft drinks rise to the popularity scale if they are made as simply, sustainably and according to ethical standards. Exceptional taste experiences are becoming more and more important, and so as a manufacturer with unusual and delicious flavour combinations, for example through food-pairing concepts and textures, you can sometimes be brave.


“Strategic Themes in Food and Nutrition”, Jared Koerten, Tom Rees, Katharina Bagul, Euromonitor, November 2019

"Beverage Trends - The latest trends and product highlights in juices, beer and carbonated soft drinks", Dora Szarvasi, Mintel, May 2019

“Focus on protein - Protein trends with focus on the dairy category”, Dora Szarvasi, Mintel, November 2019

Hanni Rützlers Food Report 2020
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Maren Döbl

Maren DöblAuthor

Product Manager


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