To your health: Beverages packing a nutritional punch
In the second part of a two-part series on healthy beverage formulation, we go into more detail regarding fortification, protein, and the targeting of health platforms, including immunity.
Consumers are becoming far more knowledgeable about the nutritional properties of vitamins and minerals and more aware of promising herbal extracts and botanicals. In the first part of this two-part series, we discussed the rise of urban and adult soft drinks and themes such as sugar reduction. Now it’s time to delve into fortification and more specific health platforms, including immunity.
This trend is also heavily influenced by technology. As those who regularly partake in sporting activities increasingly use apps on their phones to track their performance levels, they are looking at the potential of nutritional beverages to help improve their personal bests. The rise of recreational athletes with high expectations of their own performance presents an opportunity for creative product developers.
“Recreational athletes are hunting for more. A sports drink is no longer a classic electrolyte product that only contains sugar for energy and vitamins,” Markus points out. He highlights the potential for incorporating dietary fibers into beverages (e.g. oligofructose for clear beverages), as just one example of how to meet the needs of more specific target groups concerned about performance nutrition.
The notion of holistic health products that cater to a “healthy body, healthy mind” are trending within the EMEA region and translate to meet the differing nutritional needs of Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. While marketing may be segmented to adapt to these diverse demographics, some similar needs can clearly be identified:
- Immunity: The immune health trend accelerated during the first months of 2020, as both the awareness and wish to boost natural immunity increased due to the COVID-19 situation. It leads some beverage manufacturers to reassess the composition of their products and consider, for example, increasing the vitamin C content. At the same time, it has also stimulated beverage manufacturers to take a fresh look at certain high vitamin C superfruits that may have slipped off the radar in recent years, such as acerola and sea buckthorn. But ingesting products that support the immune system is a long-term trend. It is therefore worth looking seriously at this space and opting for well documented efficacious ingredients that work within the EU regulatory framework, carrying approved European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Article 13.1 claims. Brenntag F&N offers a broad variety of nutritional ingredients that can serve perfectly the immune health space including vitamins and minerals, as well as trace elements (zinc) and extracts with standardized vitamin contents.
- Mental & visual alertness: Mental health products, aka nootropics, appeal to all age groups. It is all about mental focus and acuity. Beyond the traditional botanicals like ginseng and gingko biloba, others to watch include green tea, coffee extract, and mate. A current interesting sub-trend is the rise in demand for nutritional ingredients for e-sports, particularly among millennials and gamers. These consumers are essentially looking for meal replacements since standard energy drinks will not give them the full nutritional dose, they need for a 4-hour video game. Such a product would contain a high dose of protein, vitamins & minerals, as well as a natural source of caffeine. Nutritional solutions for vision will also appeal to avid gamers, who want to ensure they can see all the tiny dots on the screen. While in the past these types of products were completely geared towards seniors losing their visual acuity, younger consumers are taking an interest now too. This means opportunity for traditional vitamins, but also lutein, zeaxanthin, and other carotenoids.
- Bone & joint health: The market for bone & joint health products has similarly widened as a growing number of younger people become more competitive in the sports they play and increasingly struggle with bone and joint issues. In the EMEA region, it is important to work with well-documented vitamins and minerals that carry approved health claims, including vitamin D and calcium. Furthermore, collagen remains a key nutritional to watch that aids joint health, beauty from within, and skin health.
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Contact the Brenntag F&N EMEA development team today to discuss your next healthy soft drink concept.