just-drinks authors and correspondents
Tom Vierhile, Innovation Insights Director at GlobalData
Columns by Tom Vierhile, Innovation Insights Director at GlobalData
Every month, Tom Vierhile from consumer intelligence provider GlobalData considers the latest NPD activity in the drinks industry.
Articles by Tom Vierhile, Innovation Insights Director at GlobalData
It is ironic that one of the newest beverage ingredient trends is linked to one of the oldest ingredients in traditional south Asian medicine. Ashwagandha has been a prized ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years, but it is only now making inroads into packaged beverages. And, if current innovation trends are any indication, ashwagandha could be a rising star in the functional drinks sector.
One of the older flavours in the soft drinks market has become one of the category's hottest new trends. Ginger is spicing things up with a wave of new product innovation sweeping through non-alcoholic beverages, from carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks to plant waters, healthful shots, and beyond.
The future of carbonated soft drink innovation may be closer than we think. The Japanese debut next month of Coca-Cola Plus – a fibre-enriched, fat-blocking, calorie-free soft drink – could be a sign of a shifting mindset among CSD companies away from removing the 'bad stuff' to adding more of the 'good stuff'.
Humans have been drinking vinegar for centuries as the practice dates as far back as 400 B.C. when apple cider vinegar began to be used as a home health remedy. The recent resurgence of the use of apple cider vinegar as a health elixir has breathed new life into the practice and has helped position drinking vinegar as a niche to keep an eye on. While it is still early, drinking vinegar is blossoming with new product launches from many influential functional drink companies.
Election day 2016 in the US provided some surprises, but the country's growing embrace of cannabis was not one of them. Voters in four states – California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada – approved legislation sanctioning the recreational use of marijuana, effectively doubling the number of states that allow the practice. This legislative action suggests that the alcohol beverage industry will likely face increased competition from legalised marijuana somewhat sooner than it had expected.
If turmeric was a stock, Wall Street would be issuing a "buy" recommendation to investors. These are exciting days for a 'super root' that has been associated with Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, yet is emerging today as a hot new functional drink ingredient.
In the US, carbonated water has become a non-alcoholic beverage star, as consumers choose sparkling waters and seltzers instead of carbonated soft drinks to cut calorie and sugar consumption. The same trend is now crossing over into flavoured alcoholic beverages (FABs), as so-called 'hard seltzers' have emerged as a promising new niche.
Drinkable yogurt has always been the poor stepchild of cup yogurt. Makers of yogurt have generally chosen to spend their time and resources on opportunities in cup yogurt rather than pursue the beverage opportunity. But, there are signs that this is changing, as top yogurt brands are opening the innovation spigot in yogurt drinks.
For something that has been around as long as matcha has – literally centuries – it is strange to say that matcha is having a "moment" in the beverage market. Yet that is precisely the case as matcha is becoming a "go to" functional beverage ingredient of late, expanding outside of tea and into a variety of drinks categories.
It wasn't supposed to end like this – a refund of the full purchase price and a chance to forget the whole thing. Keurig Kold was viewed as a potential game-changer by The Coca-Cola Co; a "consumer engagement platform with unlimited potential". For Keurig Green Mountain, Keurig Kold was the entry ramp to a cold, non-alcoholic beverage category said to be five times larger than the hot drinks market. But, it didn't work out that way for either company and the experience offers a chance to reflect on beverage innovation itself.
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