Natural Products Insider

MAY-JUN 2018

INSIDER is the leading information source for marketers, manufacturers and formulators of dietary supplements, healthy foods and cosmeceuticals. Since 1997, INSIDER has been serving the needs of the global nutrition industry.

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32 INSIDER May/June 2018 Consumers are gravitating toward beverages with functional benefi ts—and fortunately, new ingredients and technological achievements have advanced the offerings. "Functional beverages have come a long way from when bodybuilders used to crack six raw eggs into a glass and chug it," agreed Deirdre Piggott, Sensient Flavors' technical director, sweet and beverage fl avors, North America. Christina Wood, sales and marketing director at OptiBiotix Health Plc, credited the application of science for helping the market evolve "from its early stages of vitamin- or energy-boosting refreshments to offer reliable health-management tools." Michael Bush, executive director at Kerry for Wellmune and GanedenBC30 ® , also gave a nod to research, advising, "A quality functional ingredient should be backed by peer-reviewed, published clinical evidence providing proof of the ingredient's effi cacy and safety while providing support to validate stated claims." He also noted the importance of using ingredients that "support a benefi t-driven message that consumers can understand and trust." Wood, too, acknowledged consumers at the center of the category's growth. "Busier lifestyles are driving the need for convenient preparations that allow people to manage well-being on the move." Specifi cally, she said consumers are looking for "options featuring natural ingredients such as tea extracts and bacterial strains," and products that serve a wide variety of wellness needs. "Whether vitamin or 'enhanced' water to fend off illness, energy drinks to combat fatigue or sports drinks to aid exercise, they provide the multipurpose value expected by today's informed, yet time-poor consumer." Brian Zapp, director of marketing at Applied Food Sciences (AFS), pointed to a 2017 Innova Market Insights Report on functional drinks, which stated nearly 30 percent of beverages launched worldwide in 2016 positioned themselves as functional beverages. "Of those launches, the top categories included fortifi cation in vitamins, protein, energy, gut health and antioxidants, in that order," he said. Stacy Dill, marketing director at Kemin Health, also cited industry growth: "In the past fi ve years, functional beverage product launches have increased 19 percent globally, and we expect this trend to continue." Andrew Wheeler, corporate director of marketing at FutureCeuticals, said the criteria for functional beverages has expanded from taste, convenience and affordability to include health, wellness/ function and sustainability. Part of the shift is due to public education. Christiane Lippert, head of marketing (food) at Lycored, maintained, "There's been a lot of progress when it comes to consumer awareness." She added, "Nielsen has just published research showing that the growing popularity of functional ingredients like probiotics is driving growth in the beverage category." Hiroki Himeno, Ph.D., part of the fi ne chemical sales department at Glico Nutrition Co. Ltd., said one of the best things about the uptick in product innovation is "consumers can choose functional drinks according to their own trends and purposes." However, fi guring out what consumers want is a challenge. Pam Stauffer, global marketing programs manager at Cargill, referenced the 2017 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, which reported 96 percent of respondents want health benefi ts from their food and beverages. "But just what constitutes 'healthy?'" she asked. "According to that same survey, 88 percent of consumers view vitamin D as healthful, followed by fi ber (87 percent), whole grains (84 percent) and protein from plant sources (72 percent). In terms of helping consumers fi nd products that may be of interest, Mal Evans, Ph.D., scientifi c director at KGK Science Inc., identifi ed several substantiated claims that can be used in the United States. "In the functional beverages sector, benefi ts in digestion, satiety and weight loss are popular among meal-replacement or weight-loss beverages; energy drinks and sports drinks often promote increased hydration and energy; and plant-based drinks and teas support antioxidant and immune properties." Greg Paul, Ph.D., Dupont Nutrition & Health's marketing director for beverages, affi rmed that "functional beverages present an exciting and dynamic opportunity with today's consumers." Oliver Wolf, head of advertising/print media/exhibitions at GELITA, shared equal enthusiasm for the niche, noting, "There are few markets that thrive on innovation as much as the functional beverage market." A Tall Order One of the grand ironies in making beverages healthier is the increase in technical challenges formulators must overcome. "The problem with functional Food & Beverage: Functional Beverage Innovation Beverages are being sought to help support areas such as energy, cognition, weight, performance, beauty, immune and digestive health, and bone and joint wellness. Probiotics, prebiotics, omega-3s, vitamins, minerals, proteins, pectins, lipids, organic caffeine and more are being used to fortify drink applications. Consumer demand for "natural" and clean label poses challenges for formulators, who can no longer use ingredients previously championed in functional beverage. Market Overview: Functional Beverage Innovation by Karen Butler INSIDER's Take Nearly 30 percent of beverages launched worldwide in 2016 positioned themselves as functional drinks. The top categories included fortifications in vitamins, protein, energy, gut health and antioxidants, in that order.

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