There’s a wave of innovation in the beverage sphere, and the best new products were on display at the Summer Fancy Food Show hosted by the Specialty Food Association. The Innovation Group attended to report on the following trends.
Soda is out, and everything else is in. Over the past decade, Americans have given up bottled soda: Sales fell more than 25% over the past 20 years. Meanwhile, soda waters have enjoyed a renaissance. Vox points out the case of LaCroix, a flavored sparkling water from Wisconsin that tapped this rising trend for a huge boost in sales.
But what’s good news for health-conscious consumers is not as good for beverage brands. Today’s non-alcoholic drink market is more crowded than ever. As a result, soft drink makers are experimenting with new ways to stand out, including innovative flavors and health benefits.
New launches include Sparkling Bitters, which flavors its sparkling waters with cocktail bitters. In addition to their unique flavor profile, the bitters also promise digestive health benefits. According to the website, the drink does everything from relieving heartburn to stimulating enzyme production. Another new addition to the market was a sparkling drinking vinegar created by Kombucha company Live Beverages. The vinegars are infused with prebiotic fibers, a compliment to kombucha’s probiotics.
“As you look at the kombucha category right now, you do have to differentiate yourself a little bit,” Duane Primozich, managing partner at Boulder Investment Group, a Live Beverages investor, told BevNET. “It does take a lot to do it well and scale it. But as you think about early days, you do want to have some distinct differentiation, and Live soda does have that.”