The global pandemic will reshape how consumers prioritise their wellness and nutrition. A long-term change to health routines will involve balancing physical health and emotional-mental wellbeing, developing and, in some instances creating, new functional benefit territories to be addressed by drinks or new formats. From teas and tonics positioned as sleep aids to nootropic mushroom teas, cannabis drinks and vaporised caffeine, a variety of plant-based ingredients are gaining popularity.
The effects of the global pandemic will accelerate a long-term progression towards reduced alcohol and tobacco consumption, and sugar reduction across the drinks and tobacco industries. The sourcing of ingredients and product safety will remain paramount for the post-pandemic consumer as nutrition, food and beverage routines are examined and rebuilt to promote 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. As routines are reshaped post-pandemic, consumers will rebalance their food and beverage routines, finding new formats and ingredients for indulgence, as well as new functional occasions (digestive health, sleep, energy, immune support) satisfied through beverages. Indulgence and intoxication will remain a core mission of drinks and tobacco categories, while new ingredients, formats and doses will lead future consumers to experiment with new and potentially unfamiliar delivery formats, such as patches, pouches and shots.
Caffeine and energy-boosting products remain a rare area 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 tonic, vinegar drinks and kefir. Fortified, immune support drinks and relaxation/stress-relief products utilising a variety of “super-ingredients” could represent the most exciting areas of innovation in 2021 and beyond.
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