Posted2 September 2022

Driven by the long-term effects of an ongoing pandemic, this year’s forecast is shaping up to focus on celebrating life’s simple pleasures while striving for balance. As Executive Search specialists operating across the Food and Beverage space, Connect Search  is taking a look at the latest drinks trends.

Health & wellness

For many consumers, drinks with vitamin-boosting ingredients or other immunity claims were important during the pandemic; while others looked for indulgent full-sugar treats to get them through a difficult time. The picture is still mixed in 2022 but some clear trends emerge: such as the demand for functional drinks and increasing attention on mental health.

Connect has also seen sports nutrition beverages branch out into bold new flavours. Whilst classic coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavours will always be popular, the sports nutrition beverage category is seeing a rise in fun, fruity flavours such as rainbow sherbet, blood orange yuzu, sour gummy, rocket pop, salted watermelon and more.

Alongside healthy and functional drinks that compete directly with traditional soft drinks, the market for low- and no-alcohol drinks suitable for special occasions is rising steeply. Younger adults are thought to be the driving force behind the segment, as several market researchers have found this demographic is choosing to drink less alcohol than their parents.

“Going low- or no-alcohol is a lifestyle choice that some consumers are rallying behind as a way to achieve holistic health goals,” says Flavorman’s lab manager, Katie Clark

 “This trend has fuelled explosive growth in non-alcoholic spirits and ready-to-drink mocktails – as well as lower ABV wine-based cocktails – that we expect to continue into the New Year.”

Guilt-Free Indulgence

As the world becomes more accustomed to the challenges of an ongoing pandemic, consumers are learning to strive for balance in all aspects of their life. Rather than sacrificing indulgent experiences, consumers are embracing them with some slight modifications. Combining healthy ingredients with ones perceived as indulgent will deliver new opportunities for product development in the future. But is guilt-free indulgence possible?

Citrus flavours have been a cornerstone for the drinks industry, but consumer tastes are now evolving towards botanical-forward beverages – particularly in the premium sector. Floral profiles like hibiscus, lavender and elderflower are becoming more mainstream and making way for the earthier, more herbal flavours of turmeric, anise and rosemary. “Many of the ingredients you would find in your kitchen spice cabinet can introduce an extra element to a drink, providing new dimensions of flavour or functionality,” said Katie Clark.

However, consumers who choose premium drinks tend to accept that often higher levels of sugar and calories are associated with quality high-end products. It all comes back to simplicity and finding a balance to allow for a little indulgence in the post-pandemic era.

As specialists in Ingredients & Flavours Executive Search, Connect boasts a in depth knowledge of the latest trends in this sector. If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Connect Search today. Speak to one of our industry specialists on +44 (0) 1908 760 410 or head to our Contact Us page.