Many experts had created their own lists for food & beverage trends for 2014, how do you make sense of all of these? Some are more macro-level and includes a generic view toward food & beverage (like this Innova report) while another taps into consumer needs that drive changing beverage preferences (like this CSP publication). Euromonitor International’s white paper has also listed five beverage trends pertinent to the Canadian landscape (link here, must process credentials before report can be accessed). These five trends are fairly on point, but may have missed out on some other additional activity that will change the beverage landscape this year. Here’s some additional points BevWire has noticed and would like you to consider:
Improved Natural Sweeteners To Grow Zero/Low/Mid-Calorie Sodas
Dr Pepper & Pepsi had both launched mid-calorie sodas with combination sweeteners in the past two years, while Coca-Cola finally took the plunge last year with Coca-Cola Life. Although Coca-Cola Life has yet to make its entry into the North America, this is a strong sign that everyone believes calorie segmentation for sodas is a step in the right direction. Coca-Cola also has received FDA approval for Reb-X – their stevia sweetener developed in conjunction with Pure Circle. In addition, Zevia & Steaz are also among a host of naturally-sweetened soda manufacturers that are gaining broader exposure and shelf space within grocery retailers.
These factors indicate that natural sweeteners are receiving just as much as attention as their regular calorie counterparts – if not more. Optimizing a soda formula that removes the bitter aftertaste will go a long way toward restoring sales to this segment.
Aspartame Fears Continue to Depress Diet Sodas
The fear over safety of consuming aspartame came to a climax in mid-2013 as Coca-Cola ran an advertisement to dispel fears over this ingredient (link here). With a greater focus toward ingredient consumption, consumers are leaving diet sodas for other beverage products. The soda segment as a whole is facing scrutiny for contributing to obesity, but having extra attention on ingredients within diet soda has led to more consumers choosing alternative beverages such as juice, tea, and water.
With a continued rise in competition from adjacent segments and beverage categories, diet sodas will continue their rapid decline relative to the other soda segments.
Small Home Appliances Crowd the Consumer’s Kitchen Counter Space
SodaStream’s controversial in the 2013 Super Bowl ad really put them on the map, as well as put other carbonated soft drink manufacturers on notice. Consumers also noticed this and SodaStream was rewarded with sales as well as increased availability across Canadian retailers. SodaStream has also benefited with licensing agreements and partnerships to carry branded syrups like Kraft’s Kool-Aid and Country Time. Starbucks is making inroads to get on your kitchen counter as well, trademarking “Fizzio” in 2013. From trademark documents, Fizzio is their at-home carbonation unit that will carbonate water into soda flavors.
Outside of at-home carbonation units, coffee & espresso makers are also seeing a bump in sales. Keurig, Nespresso, Tassimo and other coffee pod makers offering deep discounts on the coffee machine, attracting your initial purchase in order to have you buy exclusive coffee or tea pods from them in the future.
While BevWire doesn’t have an official list where these trends are being ranked, the rise of natural sweeteners certainly seems to be the most likely to take place in early 2014. That said, we are only 13 days into 2014 and many things can still happen to change up the trends. Let’s see how this plays out over the next 352 days.