July 20, 2014

Drinks and beverages that provide benefits beyond hydration and refreshment have been around for decades. But today’s time-crunched consumer is demanding even more benefits around beauty, health and wellness in convenient, on-the-go forms. As a result, beverage makers have been launching new drinks with specialized, unique ingredients touting new functionality.

Coca-Cola launched its first herbal drink Habu, in Thailand last summer. Habu is made with four herbs: roselle, licorice, luo han guo, and cogon grass – each with properties said to treat several health conditions including stomach inflammation, ulcers and fevers. Habu’s packaging design features modern renderings of traditional clay containers used to brew herbal drinks.

Another interesting beverage on the market today is Brioni’s Healthy Morning prebiotic coffee. Brioni’s Healthy Morning prebiotic coffee claims to be the first coffee to provide digestive health benefits. This premium roast offers 4 grams of natural, prebiotic fiber per 12 ounce cup.

Resveratrol, a natural antioxidant found in plants and a beneficial ingredient found in red wine, is known to promote skin health as well as protect against conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Youthy Forever is the first juice drink made with Resveratrol and grade seed extract. Grape seed extract has also been recognized for treating health problems, including those related to cholesterol, blood pressure, and circulation. The juice itself is 100% natural, made with pear, passion fruit, pineapple, and prickly pear. Launched in May of last year, each bottle of Youthy Forever contains 40mg of grape seed extract and 30mg of Resveratrol—equivalent to drinking 60 glasses of red wine!

With the growth of functional beverages and the breadth of their diverse benefits, it’s clear that consumers today are looking for increasingly convenient ways to do more than quench their thirst. But before launching a new cholesterol-lowering tea, marketers should ask themselves: “is this fulfilling an actual need with my target consumer? And is a beverage a credible and appealing format to deliver this benefit?” For each successful product there are likely just as many failures. One thing is for sure: there is still plenty of untapped potential.

For insight on how new product offerings are addressing consumers’ specific functional needs, download SIGHTINGS – How Big is Going Small: Growth at Odds with Positioning.