Striving for Wellbeing in Drinks & Tobacco has been identified as one of the most important themes in the world of beverages. Alcohol, caffeine, sugar and cannabis are a significant part of how global consumers manage their wellbeing. In the decade prior to the pandemic, however, consumers had begun to form a more ‘mindful’ and conscious approach to their intoxicants. In its aftermath, consumers will rebalance consumption and ingredients to re-establish wellbeing.
The categories constituting drinks and tobacco – from carbonated drinks to cannabis – are often understood as the ‘sindustries’ – products enjoyed primarily for indulgence and refreshment. Yet as routines are reshaped post-pandemic, consumers will rebalance their food and beverage routines, finding new categories for indulgence, as well as new functional occasions satisfied by beverage options (like digestive health, sleep, energy and immune support). Indulgence and intoxication will, of course, remain a core mission of drinks and tobacco categories, while new ingredients, formats and needs will lead consumers to experiment with new and potentially unfamiliar delivery formats, such as patches, pouches and shots.
The effects of the global pandemic and greater emphasis on public health may accelerate a long-term progression towards reduced alcohol and tobacco consumption, and sugar reduction across the drinks and tobacco industries. The sourcing of ingredients, product safety and impact on health will remain paramount for the post-pandemic consumer, as nutrition, food and beverage routines are examined, measured with new technology (such as wearables) and adjusted or rebuilt to promote wellbeing.
Caffeine and energy-boosting products remain rare areas of double-digit value growth in global beverages, propelled by the rise of super-charged energy drinks, RTD and craft coffee over recent years. Digestive health beverages are now mainstream, led by kombucha and extending into prebiotic tonics, vinegar drinks and kefir. Nootropics, fortified immune support drinks and relaxation/stress-relief products utilising a variety of ‘super-ingredients’ within the fungi and botanical kingdoms, often adaptogenic in effect, represent the most exciting areas of innovation in 2021 and beyond.
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