As consumer desire changes, the beverage market evolves. Two of the most significant influencing factors that are impacting the beverage industry are health and wellbeing, and environmental impact. Breaking these two crucial trends down, we see a market shifting towards four main trends: practicality, customisation, varietal options, and sustainability.

Practicality. Enjoying a beverage is no longer purely based on taste. Consumers are increasingly looking for drinks that can provide a practical function—a boost of vitamins, sleeping assistance, or a shot of energy, perhaps. The non-alcoholic beverage market is becoming saturated with drinks that boast health benefits or are multi-purpose by nature, reflecting the increased awareness of health and wellbeing. Restaurants and cafés around the country are moving more towards drinks that say contain chia seeds, or have a ‘real fruit base for a healthy boost of minerals and vitamins’, instead of just stocking a standard orange juice. Moving forward, to stay on top of what is happening in the beverage industry, restaurateurs are advised to keep an eye out for the latest offerings of functional drinks.

Customisation. The modern-day consumer expects a personalised experience when dining or drinking out. Free-from drinks, for instance, are becoming increasingly popular as consumers’ diets become more varied. This can also be said for plant-based beverages, or vegan drinks, that offer alternative ways for diet-restricted consumers to enjoy a beverage. This is an idea that is reflected amongst modern dining trends, as well. Furthermore, a brand that goes beyond the product itself to engage with the consumer is one that is more likely to appeal. Ideas like provenance and sustainable ingredients, for instance, add to the experience a consumer feels when they consume a beverage from a company they want to support.

Variety. While this is in part a combination of the two previously mentioned factors, variety is something that the modern consumer expects. On top of health-based and free-from options, consumers want to be able to choose from a range of drink flavours and profiles. Non-alcoholic beverages are gaining popularity, as well, as people want to be able to enjoy a night out without having to worry about alcohol intake. Globally, last year saw alcohol consumption drop by 1.5 percent. Furthermore, more and more big brand beers are releasing 0 percent beers as the modern drinker moves towards a wellness-centric attitude to consumption. Additionally, although not a new idea, the continuation of fermented drinks mirrors the idea that gut-health and probiotic-rich beverages are not just a phase. BCC Research predicts the international fermented ingredient market to be worth US$28.4 billion by 2020, showing annual growth of 3.4 percent.

Sustainability. Sustainability is another trend that will only continue to grow and develop. Consumers are increasingly aware of the need to make decisions based around planetary sustainability—and drink options are not an exception. Companies that have begun moving towards recyclable packaging and ethical supply-chains are becoming commonplace, and the consumer in part influences this. Again, this relates to the idea of customisation, as consumers want to feel as though the choices that they’re making are impactful. Many companies are taking heed of these trends, and looking to move towards carbon neutrality, or rid themselves of single-use plastic within a specific timeframe, for instance.

The push for the non-alcoholic beverage market to become a more familiar, a more customisable, and a more sustainable entity is driving beverage trends. On top of that, restaurants and cafés that can supply a range of drinks, that provide what the consumer is looking for, are sure to garner return business.