What have been some of the key broad dairy and beverage trends to emerge in recent years?
“In dairy, plant-based has definitely been the biggest and most disruptive trend over recent years - what used to be niche is now mainstream. The trend has been booming everywhere, though mainly in drinks and ice cream segments. We are expecting the fermented spoonable segment to expand too. Global players have definitely been shaken by smaller market players, who bring breakthrough innovations and move fast on the market.”
“In addition to the topic of sugar reduction, which plays a predominant role in soft drinks in general, three key beverage trends can be observed. The first is functionality. This is driving non-alcoholic beverage innovations with offerings ranging from boosting the immune system to improving mental wellbeing.”
“The second is non-alcoholic drinks targeted at adults. There is ever-growing demand for sophisticated/adult non-alcoholic drinks, which is based on two main reasons: the growing concern over excessively sweet and sugary formulations, and a drop in alcohol consumption in many mature markets.”
“Finally, there is naturalness. Consumers demand maximum naturalness when it comes to beverage formulations.”
What impact has Covid-19 had on accelerating such trends?
“Overall, consumers have reprioritised health as a result of the Coronavirus, but are looking to spend their money more wisely. They are looking for solutions that address health more holistically. Health is no longer looked at through the funnel of physical health; mental health and the impact mental and physical health have on each other is becoming more common knowledge.”
“This has created the opportunity for the ‘Plus Approach’ among manufacturers. For example, core, mass market needs like immunity are laying the foundation to address more niche consumer needs with ‘Immunity + Gut’ solutions that are built on the foundation that 70% of our immune cells are found in our guts. Therefore, by taking care of your gut (a more niche need in the functional world) you are taking care of immunity (a mass market need).”
How would you assess the current state of consumer knowledge and understanding of the immune system, and the role nutrition plays?
“There is a spectrum of knowledge among consumers. Some are very educated on the best ways to address immunity whereas many others only know they need to prioritize it.”
“Immunity is one of the only functionality groups that crosses all generations. Younger generations are more risk tolerant and willing to explore new ingredients and applications. They are less brand loyal overall and more willing to accept at face value the messages put forward by brands. Older generations tend to be more brand loyal but risk adverse. They stick to tried-and-true ingredients and solutions.”
What opportunities does this trend toward immune-supporting nutrition and demand for functionality present to manufacturers?
“The sky is the limit on innovation in the functional world right now. The penetration rate in most markets is still very low. But immunity will be the functionality that lays the foundation for innovation in other areas. Manufacturers need to follow their target audience’s needs and consumption habits to best determine how to innovate with clean label, natural solutions that address health.”
“On-package messaging is more important than ever. The biggest challenge for manufacturers may be continuing to educate consumers on healthy ingredients but staying within the strict regulations that exist today regarding functional food and beverage.”
How can Symrise help manufacturers meet these opportunities?
“To answer consumer needs for wellbeing and health, Symrise and Diana Food can deliver the best that nature has to offer, backed by the best of science. Our solutions are made through a science-based process that extends from the field to the home, encompassing agronomy, innovation, gentle processing, applications expertise, clinical studies, and regulatory support.”
“Our core competency consists of identifying the best actives inherent in the raw material, standardising them, and concentrating them for applications.”
Can you give some examples of successful functional beverages that meet current consumer needs?
“Some inspiring concepts developed by Symrise and Diana Food include Botanical senses, a range of Flavoured Waters and Liquid Water Enhancers that support different mood stimulations. You can choose a drink either fitting to your state of mind or which shall help you to achieve the desired state of mind.”
“Botanical Senses is available in four flavour combinations, while our Flavoured Waters feature only botanical extracts, no sugar, no preservatives and zero calories. Our Liquid Water Enhancers are 100 % natural ‘syrups’ and give consumers the opportunity to personalise each drink.”
“Other examples include the Bilberry Yoghurt Drink shot for consumers with active lifestyle and eating on-the-go. Ayurveda plant-based dairy alternatives can also help boost immune health. This concept includes authentic Indian flavours composed of a mango puree, a cardamon extract, our sweetness balanced and masking Symlife technologies and an Acerola juice concentrate of Vitamin C claims.”
“Regarding mental wellbeing, new launches include beverage innovations like Chill Out from The Coca-Cola Company and Driftwell from PepsiCo. Evian+ Sparkling Feed Your Mind enriched with Zinc and Magnesium was launched in Switzerland and Belgium in May 2021. Robinsons Focus Lemon, Lime & Ginseng enriched with VitB3 and Zinc was launched in the UK in November 2021, while the Smartwater+ range in the US was launched in February 2021.”