Are you bored with your beverage? The most popular drinks in the US include juice, carbonated soft drinks, dairy milk, bottled water, tea, and coffee; but consumers are now seeking something new. Recent trends are showing that consumers are open to a beverage that quenches not only their thirst but their wellness too.

First, let’s look at how drink decisions are made: When deciding on a beverage, what do people value most? In order of importance, most people’s drink decisions are based on taste, nutritional features, and functional benefits. Mintel’s market research on beverages showed that manufacturers are responding to the consumer shift toward more functional offerings with product combinations that satisfy health needs while maintaining taste.

These combos are creating new drink categories that are intriguing consumers and reinvigorating the industry. According to the study, the most popular hybrids are:

  • juice and tea
  • sparkling water and tea
  • coffee and protein
  • coffee and energy drink
  • energy drink and sparking water
  • water and nutritional drink

According to Mintel, “The emergence of cross-category beverages has led to the development of new drink fusions, and the array of beverage options can be overwhelming for some consumers. This presents big challenges for brands looking to retain their customer base without polarizing those who are inundated by the growing selection of beverage options. Adding to overall category confusion, some consumers struggle to identify certain drink fusions. It is essential that brands use clear messaging to illustrate what sets products apart.”

Sales trends show that these innovative blends of popular drinks are the solution that consumers are looking for. While there is clearly an open market for this sector, the study showed that the most common concerns of these new drinks were high calories, limited choices, and artificial taste– which leads one to believe that there is a need for some consumer education.

Despite this trend, taste is still the driving factor in purchase decisions, so manufacturers have to keep that in mind when creating cross-category beverages.

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