Soft drinks of all kinds and types are increasingly targeting the healthy lifestyle trend of recent years. It is not really surprising, as more and more consumers look for less sugars, fewer calories, and more nutritional value.
People are increasingly looking for beverage solutions that contain less sugars and fewer calories – while simultaneously also offering more nutrition. It’s public knowledge (supported by large amount of scientific evidence) that the consumption of low-calorie sweetened drinks helps weight management, including the preservation of weight loss. At the same time, many people prefer functional and fortified beverage base containing ingredients like vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc.
When producing a beverage base that contains health-specific ingredients, a very big effort is applied in order not to affect adversely the taste and the texture. Most people will not buy soft drinks if the taste fails to measure up to their expectations. This presents of course a major challenge to developers, especially for developers of solutions for reduced calories beverages: how to prevent the health ingredients from introducing even the slightest different aftertaste, or change the texture.
And this is not all: as the demand for tasty, nutritious and healthy beverage bases grows among consumers, so does the pressure for beverage solutions that are also cost-effective, among producers. There are many factors at play, which must be somehow balanced, like change in flavour (and aftertaste), in emulsion stability, nutritional value, preservation, health benefits and manufacturing costs. While adding to the pressure, they also offer opportunities to develop new, innovative, better and healthier products.
The beverage base world - including sodas, sugary juices and sweet energy drinks – have become a major source of calories intake; it is currently the focus of serious efforts to improve its image and its benefits. Natural energy drinks are steps ahead in this race, due to their original inherent focus on health.
To sum up:
Beverages with health benefits will, in all probability, continue to boom. It looks like fibre supplements are leading the way. The inclusion of fibre can only be good news for consumers. It is also the key to making these products acceptable to core audience in matters of taste, texture and sensory quality in addition to health benefits..