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China & India are fastest growing markets for non-alcoholic beverages
Wednesday, 30 November, 2022, 14 : 00 PM [IST]
Joshna Joseph
The word ‘Beverage’ has been derived from the Latin word ‘bever’ meaning rest from work. At the most basic level, beverage are the portable drinks other than water that humans can consume to satisfy energy, thirst or hydration.

Beverages are not usually consumed for their food value, but many, particularly the fruit drinks, contain quite a high percentage of sugar, vitamins and minerals, and, therefore, add to the energy content of the diet. They may be in the form of freshly squeezed juices  to  chemical-packed  energy  drinks.  

For  hundreds  of  thousands  of  years,  the  idea  of  a beverage was  restricted to  water, milk  or any  fruit juice  but with passage of  time,  there came alcohol, wine, various teas, coffees, cocktails, ciders and sodas, A wide range of plant materials are used  to manufacture beverages.  Broadly,  there  are  two  types of  beverages alcoholic  and non-alcoholic beverage.

Former is used as a generic term for beverages that contain more than 2.50% alcohol by volume,  nevertheless such that  the minimum  age provision  in applies to  beverages containing between 0.70 and 2.50 per cent alcohol by volume. These include leaves, stems, sap, fruits, tubers, and seeds (grains). China and India are the fastest growing markets for non-alcoholic beverages.

Healthy and functional beverages include dairy-based, energy and sports, weight management and, plant-based drinks. Despite the natural composition of these drinks, most of them contain a high proportion of added sugars in their formulation.

There are a few low-calorie presentations produced by using artificial sweeteners as saccharin, cyclamate, aspartame, and acesulfame-K . However, the consumption of this type of additives is not recommended due to its association with some health problems. Plant-based beverages generally are made from fruits, vegetables, and herbs, alone or combined with other ingredients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Besides their nutritional properties, these beverages also contain bioactive compounds  such as antioxidants (polyphenols, flavonoids, terpenes among others). Several epidemiological, experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated the biological efficiency of antioxidant compounds in decreasing and preventing the negative effect of diseases related to oxidative stress.

Tea and herbal infusions can be major sources of bioactive compounds such as polyphenolics and flavonoids which possess strong antioxidant activity and metal chelating properties.

Increased concern about both added sugars and artificial sweeteners has been instrumental in driving consumers away from traditional soft drinks.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than a quarter of the world’s population is overweight and more than 400 million people have diabetes. So it comes as no surprise that market researcher FMCG Gurus forecasts that a growing number of consumers want to consume less sugar in the future. Coconut water is increasingly used as an ingredient in fruit juices.

It helps lower the total sugar content of fruit juices while enabling them to maintain their claim of being 100 percent juice. Even consumed on its own, low-calorie coconut water, which is rich in electrolytes, is popular worldwide.

The health drinks market is projected to witness a CAGR of 7.88 % during the forecast period (2022 - 2027).

Households worldwide are seeing a significant change in their shopping, cooking, and eating routines after Covid-19. To boost immunity and overall health and wellness amid the Covid-19 pandemic, consumers are increasingly seeking functional and nutritional food and beverage products that they believe might aid in the body’s defenses and immunity, thereby increasing the consumption of healthy drinks.

The health drinks market is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Moreover, consumers are heeding the proliferation of linking food and beverage consumption with health. Owing to this factor, consumers are increasingly shifting toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle that aids in sustaining fitness while reducing the chances of lifestyle diseases. This factor, coupled with other factors, such as rising healthcare expenditures and increasing urbanisation rates, drives the demand for sports nutrition products.

Moreover, a significant increase in the number of casual or recreational users, professional bodybuilders, and athletes, as well as the growing number of young people opting for sports as their career, is also contributing positively to the market growth. Functional beverages such as vitamin infused waters, kombucha, plant-based waters, low-carb drinks and nutritional tonics have all gained popularity.

Consumers are looking for more ways to pack vitamins and nutrients into their bodies, and drinks are quick and easy to consume.

In addition to beverages that deliver digestive health benefits and boost energy, there is an increasingly growing market that delivers mood-boosting and relaxation benefits. Among the middle-aged and elderly, functional beverages that boost cognitive health are rising. Additionally, stress and sleep functional drinks have increased in popularity.

The increasing range of functional beverages will advance the market scope and lead to more research and development opportunities. Specifically, companies are looking for ingredient combinations to maximise health and mental benefits.

With the broadening range of functional applications being sought by consumers, suppliers are looking to utilise new ingredients that better meet the functional goals of consumers. In the sports drink field, suppliers are expanding their choice of ingredients to enhance sports nutrition benefits. Drinks with creatines and branch-chained amino acids are growing in popularity.

Additionally, drinks that boost cognitive health and energy experiment with ingredients such as CBD, collagen, and adaptogens. These ingredients are popular among millennial, although the use of these ingredients will likely spur a movement to go back to the basic vitamins and minerals.

Functional beverages such as ready-to-drink tea (RTD), are considered healthy hydration drinks. While providing refreshment and stimulating benefits, it does not have the possible detrimental effects of coffee that could make someone jittery or crash. These drinks are organoleptic, stimulating the sense of smell, sight, and taste.

Young consumers are a developing market for healthy hydration products who like their convenience and see it as a viable alternative to traditional soft drinks. Another healthy hydration product that is growing in popularity is enhanced water. Suppliers can expect the demand for healthy hydration to grow in the coming year.

The share of health products available to consumers is rapidly increasing, which bodes well for the functional beverage industry. People are becoming more receptive to drinks that can provide a range of health benefits.

(The author is senior executive QA and regulatory at Roha Dyechem Pvt. Ltd)
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