Adventurous consumers are shunning predictable drink offerings in favour of unusual flavours and formats. Image courtesy of Alena Ozerova.

trend for products that push the boundaries of conventional beverage products has gained traction. Novel and experimental drink products offer time-scarce consumers an enticing break from the ordinary, which encourage them to slow down and enjoy an indulgent drinking experience. 

Using quality cues, from creative ingredient combinations to labour-intense production methods, new launches are paving the way for brands to target the trend with products that consumers are willing to pay more to experience. In the recent trend report ‘TrendSights Analysis: Novel & Experiential buying unusual and more unique products’ GlobalData explores the ways that manufacturers can tap into the novel and experimental trend.

While there are a number of factors that may contribute to the desire for new and exciting products, GlobalData has identified two key motivations consumers have for experimenting with new products: Pleasing themselves and sharing an experience with others. For individual consumers looking for interesting experiences, the desire to try something new can move them to buy products that feature unusual ingredients or help them to relax and escape from the stress of everyday life. In a group, however, the consumers may be drawn to novel offerings by a desire share a unique experience with friends and family.

Targeting adventurous consumers with unusual drink offerings

"Ale and beer manufacturers are well-positioned to target the demand for novel products."

In a sensory-based category such as alcohol, novelty plays a big role in influencing consumers’ choice as consumers increasingly seek out drinks that offer a new experience and taste. Customisation and experimentation are already established features in a number of alcoholic beverages, for example, the cocktail combinations crafted by high-end bartenders, which elevate drink- mixing from a mere process into an impressive art-form. While the performance aspect may be limited to cocktail bars the desire for an enhanced overall drinking experience is driving the novel trend into other sectors.

Understanding which markets consumers feel more motivated to experiment in is essential to achieve a successful investment. According to GlobalData, pre-mixed and ale and craft beer are key areas where novelty offerings will appeal. With more consumers looking for drinks that facilitate feelings of indulgence and escapism, the unlimited flavour varieties and low alcohol percentage of pre-mixed alcoholic drinks make them an appealing option for consumers looking to indulge themselves and experiment without the guilt of consuming large amounts of alcohol.

Following the success of the craft trends, ale and beer manufacturers are well-positioned to target the demand for novel products. As the popularity of ale and craft beer grows the perception of products as flavoursome alternatives to standard beers has established a desire for more experimental offerings that is helping to drive innovation and creativity in the sector. This highlights the potential for manufacturers to position products as a rounded drinking experience by focusing on fresh or unusual ingredients that will maximise consumer taste sensations during their relaxation time.

While consumers demonstrate a willingness to shop for new alcoholic drinks products, only a small number regularly seek out new options to try. This is largely due to the limited ranger of novel offerings on the market. To motivate more consumers to purchase novel offerings manufacturers need to launch innovative options that are appealing enough for consumers to pay more for.

Stimulating the senses with popular ingredients and exciting flavour combinations

"Consumers are increasingly seeking out drinks in new unique formats and shapes."

The novel appeal of unusual ingredients is not limited to alcoholic beverages. With the craft trend seeping into a number of areas in the drinks market, curious consumers are also seeking to experiment with novel non-alcoholic beverage offerings. For time-poor consumers, carbonates, hot beverages and soft drinks that offer new sensory and flavour experiences can appeal to the desire to make the most of the limited relaxation time that they have.

According to GlobalData research 64% of consumers globally say that curiosity motivates them to try new flavours. This creates opportunities for brands to utalise unlimited potential flavour and ingredient combinations available to non-alcoholic drinks and position new launches as exciting alternatives to the flavours currently available on the market. Examples of creative and novel flavours have already begun to appear on the market with carbonated drinks brands experimenting with flavours such as salty watermelon, curry, ice cucumber, black currant and strawberry milk.

As the trend develops, consumers are increasingly seeking out drinks in new unique formats and shapes which were not previously available on the market. With a growing number of consumers open to buying craft-style beverages that focus on natural and healthy ingredients, the shift away from mass-produced products presents small brands with a good opportunity to engage novelty seeking consumers with unusual flavours they may not have tried before.

As with alcoholic beverages, the novel trend is likely to garner attention in a number of non-alcoholic drinks options. In areas with an established history of innovation in flavours and varieties, such as juices and smoothies, energy drinks and sport drinks, consumers more likely to be adventurous and experimental in their product choices. In addition to soft drinks, the novel trend also has roots in hot drinks. Over recent years, new launches have significantly expanded the variety of offerings available to consumers and nowadays, green, herbal and black teas are commonplace in most supermarkets. This explains why consumers feel motivated to experiment with tea more than coffee.

To target the trend, brands need to develop more products that offer new and unusual flavours, which may encourage consumers to try them. However, while consumers may be willing to explore new flavour oppositions not all combinations may be successful. Product sampling is an ideal marketing step to address the appeal of new flavours and novel formats before the product is launched.

To find out more about trend in the beverage industry and view more reports from GlobalData, please visit the GlobalData website.