Demand for healthy beverages is moving away from no-sugar or low-calorie variants to those which whilst low-calorie also offer added health benefits through either greater natural ingredients or added functionality.

Consumers have become more knowledgeable about ingredients’ effectiveness and they are now demanding more from the products they buy. The concept of “buying better” is encouraging consumers to look for added value through fortified drinks, driving innovations towards functional benefits that are worth trading up for.

According to GlobalData’s 2015 Q4 global consumer survey, consumers have a particular interest towards products that can improve general health and wellbeing (89%), immune system (87%), heart health (85%), digestive system health (85%) and bone and joint health (85%).

Despite this strong interest, it should be noted that nearly half of consumers who claim to be interested in food and drinks with improved functionality are not actively purchasing such products. This provides major new opportunities for producers that can capitalize on this trend by offering more targeted products with specific health claims that can turn pure interest into actual purchase.

Manufacturers should include recognized medicinal herbs or vegetables such as ginger which is considered by some to have anti-inflammatory properties or Vitamin C believed to support immune system in new product developments. This would increase the perceived effectiveness of a product and reassure the consumer that the product works as promised. Potential health benefits should be explicitly communicated on the packaging of products.