Living a “healthy lifestyle” has become more than just maintaining a diet or exercise regime. The focus of a healthy lifestyle has shifted from being purely about health towards the ability to maintain a sense of holistic well-being, which includes cognitive functions, relationships, and mental health. Today, consumers seek balance in an imbalanced world and search for natural ways to regain well-being by using products and methods to help them cope better.
Symrise Flavor North America conducted extensive research in the health and wellness space to help guide beverage brands to fulfill consumer needs. Symrise’s Healthy Lifestyles Framework is structured on five main opportunities areas for beverage brands to pinpoint in order to tap into these consumers: Back to the Future, Let Food Be Thy Medicine, Blurring Boundaries, Natural Power-Ups, and Permissible Pleasure.
In this article, Symrise Flavor North America shares a look into three of these key platforms for beverage innovation and the trends and flavors that are of most interest and priority for the health-conscious consumer looking to improve their overall emotional, social, and psychological wellness in an increasingly distressing world.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
What’s old is new again for the natural ingredients and sustainable products that have survived many generations. The Back to the Future platform is represented by the brands that revisit the benefits of well-known health ingredients and give them a new life in a modern, wellness-focused era. It’s less about innovations and more about bringing back the idea of good, basic, primal products for long-term prevention and immunity-boosting with ingredients associated with fighting disease and sickness, cleansing, anti-inflammatory benefits, and gut health.
Ingredients, recipes, and techniques that were commonplace in centuries gone by are re-emerging as people seek products that represent a return to nature. North Americans, especially travel-hungry Millennials and Gen Z generations, are intrigued about the traditions of other countries, and inquire about any possible benefits tied to these traditions. The interest is motivated by an emphasis the contemporary consumer places on holistic wellness. This includes incorporating more therapeutic spices into beverages for consumers to benefit from their perceived ability to help fight off disease.
Ginger has become a mainstream stay in all categories, especially sweet beverages and desserts. Turmeric is on the rise, growing on menus across America at a rate of 12.5% year-over-year as immunity becomes increasingly important to consumers. Following this trend of international interest, Ayurvedic spices and seeds are also growing in popularity in the beverage category for their ancient health practices, with ingredients like ginseng, known for its energy boost without the jitters, and the lesser-known maca root, also known as Peruvian ginseng.
NATURAL POWER UPS
Modern life can often feel demanding and distracting. Consumers are increasingly looking for drinks that can help their performance on all ends of the spectrum, whether that means a fast energy buzz, deeper focus, or better sleep. In the Natural Power Ups platform, wellness is top of mind. Consumers seek natural ways to energize and reap the benefits from physical performance, mental clarity, and creativity. Consumers are looking for potent energy sources that last all day and without the side effects of chemically altered energy supplements.
What consumers are looking for most is a natural, healthy balance between staying motivated while still being able to wind down and relax at the end of the day. People are turning to beverages for mood altering benefits, whether that is a boost of energy or a moment of relaxation. With so many distractions in today’s ultra-connected world, consumers striving for productivity pick pantry staples to enhance focus. Brands developing these “bookend” products provide a boost of energy in the morning and instill a sense of calm in the evening.
A big hurdle for many looking to adopt naturally empowering beverages is to find a healthier way to start their days than with cups of coffee. Products adopting “green machine” ingredients include alternative natural sources of energy used as a caffeine replacement, such as wheatgrass or spirulina, a type of blue green algae. Yerba mate and beet nitrates have also become more popular alternatives to traditional caffeine sources. Also, on the “green” energy spectrum, consumers can start or end their day in a relaxing way with tea, along with herbs and botanicals, like Mint or Matcha. These ingredients are being examined for their ability to provide a gentle lift or to help calm moods. Green tea is thought to provide a lighter boost of energy than black tea, while a tea made of ginger or peppermint can invigorate the senses with its intense aromas.
Even those embracing wellness and a healthy lifestyle need a little indulgence or Permissible Pleasures. To better conform to this platform, beverage categories traditionally associated with indulgence are incorporating health and wellness by using alternative ingredients to recreate the look, feel and taste experience but without the negative health effects.
The line between regular meals and snacks are being blurred, with snacking mindsets now aligned with seeking satisfaction and nutrition that doesn’t compromise on taste. This mindset opens up the category with new opportunities to provide flavor and taste solution alternatives that add permissibility to products that already have appeal and universal accessibility. It also feeds into consumers’ desire to have more interesting and fun drinking experiences without guilt.
The idea of conventional weight management has shifted exponentially; it’s no longer about drinking less of the bad thing but rather drinking more of the good things. Some consumers are looking to make their healthy lifestyles hedonistic and sustainable. They are looking for brands that create products where they can enjoy the experience and share it on social media while at the same time, remain mindful of health and sustainability implications of ingredients used.
Since “being healthy” means something different to everyone, many don’t know where to start with their ‘Healthy Lifestyle’ journey, so brands that create interactive and flavorful products using clean ingredients is the perfect jumping-off point. Some “health drinks” may seem unapproachable or prohibitively expensive for all consumers but creating healthier versions of formats they’re familiar with is a great way to introduce people to a healthier way of living.
There is also the incorrect stigma of health drinks tasting “gross” or too basic and bitter that drives people away from adding healthier beverages into their diet. Brands are incorporating new and different Flavoring Facades, which include tinctures of herbs and spices, to help elevate the appeal of unpalatable healthy beverages. Hibiscus is becoming more mainstream in the beverage category to brighten up the appeal of water and non-alcoholic mocktails, for example. Healthier sweeteners are also added to avoid adding processed sugar to drinks, leveraging natural syrups and sugars to satisfy sweet tooths, like maple and coconut sugars.
In order to create concepts that align with these platforms, the Symrise Beverage team took a deep dive into the healthy lifestyle consumer insights and trends. The beverage team has crafted and developed health and wellness concepts to meet each platform, utilizing Symrise flavors and technology to meet our customers’ needs. These concepts include our Code of Nature Botanical Collection, Citrus Toolbox, Taste balancing technology, DIANA ingredients, and more. Symrise is continuously developing solutions that expand consumers’ and customers’ needs.
To learn more about our Healthy Lifestyle platforms or health, wellness and functionality in beverage applications, download Symrise Flavor North America’s Healthy Lifestyle Fact Sheet!