Sip On This: Consumers in North America seek hydrating and refreshing flavours in beverages

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More consumers in the United States and Canada are quenching their thirst with refreshing and hydrating beverages.

Freshness is a burgeoning beverage trend, with a 5% year-on-year (YOY) trend growth rate. More consumers are associating these beverages with a wider range of fruit flavours, and have an appetite for beverages with innovative flavours.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, beverages that feature nutritious ingredients such as fresh fruits and herbs are increasingly preferred.

Consumers in the United States prefer beverages made with natural ingredients and prioritise taste, while those in Canada gravitate towards innovative flavours from tropical and Asian ingredients.

To get more consumer insights and preferences, download the North America Beverage Trends 2021 Report, or get started with the key takeaways below.

US consumers favour natural ingredients

American consumers value taste and natural ingredients when it comes to refreshing and hydrating non-alcoholic beverages. Taste-wise, notable emerging ingredients include acerola, which has a 93% YOY growth rate. The sweet and tart cherry, which is chock-full of Vitamin C, is especially popular as a juice. Ume, a sour Japanese plum, has seen a 49% YOY increase. In a nod to its popularity, Japanese craft beverage maker Kimino rolled out an ume sparkling juice made from plums hand-picked in Wakayama in Japan.

Besides the taste factor, natural ingredients are trending. They include lemongrass (21% YOY) and yerba mate (7% YOY), which are both rich in antioxidants. Lemongrass, a tropical herb commonly found in Thai cuisine, has been known to reduce cholesterol levels and alleviate inflammation. These days, lemongrass is a ubiquitous flavour in teas.

Yerba mate, an invigorating herbal tea, is finding its way into other types of drinks. Guayaki, a California-based organic beverage company, has concocted a blend of brewed yerba mate with organic fruits and herbs, while New York cafe Portenas has introduced a series of yerba mate cold brews infused with flavours like lemon and passionfruit, and ginger mint lemonade.

Asian ingredients and carbonated beverages continue to trend in Canada

Asian and tropical ingredients such as dragonfruit and osmanthus are emerging non-alcoholic beverage ingredients in Canada. Dragonfruit, growing 126% YOY, has bubbled up in the carbonated drinks space. In April this year, energy beverage Red Bull launched a limited-edition dragon fruit flavour for summer.

Osmanthus, which is widely used for brewing tea in Asia, saw a 51% YOY growth. The golden flower, which has a soothing floral fragrance, has also found its way into carbonated beverages. Pepsi launched an osmanthus flavour in China  last May and is available in countries like Canada.. Osmanthus flower boosts the immune system and has a sedative effect – in line with the growing popularity of beverages that help people relax in Canada.

Fresh fruit associated with refreshing and hydrating beverages

Consumers in both markets are associating more fresh fruits with refreshing and hydrating beverages. In the US, the list of refreshing ingredients has included more fresh fruits such as ume, white grape, acerola and mixed berries. This trend is echoed in Canada, where winter melon, pomelo, kiwi, mulberry and dragon fruit joined the list.

This article is based on the North America Beverage Trends 2021 Report. Download the full report here.

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