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The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Fruit Drinks

Learn what’s driving demand for fruit flavors in non-alcoholic drinks and how recent innovations help businesses meet this demand.  

Non-alcoholic drinks are having a moment. Ok, maybe it’s less a “moment” and more of a pivotal shift in consumer preferences. So, what’s fueling the demand for these beverages? 

One of the biggest contributors is the increased interest in wellness. For sober-curious consumers looking to reduce or eliminate their alcohol consumption, NA beverages provide a better-for-you alternative. However, this category isn’t just about alcohol alternatives. In addition to NA beers and ready-to-drink mocktails, this category includes carbonated soft drinks (CSD), sparkling waters, functional beverages, and more. 

Whether it’s a healthy swap, supporting wellness goals, or simply for hydration, NA beverages can cater to different consumer preferences and needs. Regardless of what drives that first purchase, though, there’s one attribute that will determine whether someone purchases again: taste. 

Flavor plays a major role in consumer decision-making, and recent technological innovations are fueling the momentum behind popular fruit-flavored beverages. Learn more about the rise of non-alcoholic fruit flavored drinks and how innovative flavor technologies can help businesses formulate beverages that stand out and meet demand.

 

Skyfarm Series - TTB-approved Natural Fruit Flavoring for Brewing & Beverages

Non-Alcoholic Fruit Beer and Mocktails

Sure, these beverages may have had a reputation for being less than delicious in decades past. Today, however, businesses are giving NA beers a much-needed flavor makeover in response to consumer demands. 

NA beer consumers vary in age, but Brian Sudano, CEO and president of S&D Insights, said in an interview that demand comes from “younger consumers that generally don’t drink alcohol, middle age people that are pursuing a healthier lifestyle, and those that engage in other forms of adult products that do not fit with alcoholic beverages.” 

Mocktails are also gaining popularity for similar reasons. One thing both NA beers and mocktails have in common? Consumers have specific flavor preferences. However, there are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to consumer flavor preferences.

Unlike other beverages in the non-alcoholic category, these products will naturally be compared to the alcoholic versions they’re mimicking. So, on the one hand, consumers are looking for a similar taste. In regard to their non-alcoholic beers, Deschutes Brewing even advertises them as “so close to the original, you’ll have to double-check the can.”

Conversely, one of the largest demographics for these beverages is VERY into fruit flavors. Mintel noted that “Gen Zers were above average in agreeing that fruit juices with sophisticated flavors are a better alternative to alcoholic beverages than regular fruit juices.” 

Peach Natural Fruit Flavoring, TTB-Approved | Abstrax Hops

Fruit Flavored Carbonated Soft Drinks and Sparkling Waters

Between changing consumer behaviors and new beverage technologies, carbonated soft drinks have undergone quite a transformation over the past few years. Whether they call it soda, pop, or cola, even the most dedicated consumers are being impacted by the better-for-you movement. 

Regardless of the actual sugar and/or calorie content of a beverage, fruit-flavored soft drinks often appeal to health-conscious consumers. The noticeable demand for low and no-sugar products has caused many businesses to get creative in response. 

For example, PepsiCo told Beverage Industry their new Bubly Burst product was “a flavor-forward, lightly sweetened sparkling water beverage with bold fruit flavors, bright colors, zero added sugar and minimal calories.” Additionally, CMO Todd Kaplan described how new consumers of the sparkling water category want a “slightly sweeter taste than a typical sparkling water while maintaining many of the same credentials that the sparkling water category is known for today.”

Manufacturers that can meet demand for fruit flavors while also providing “better-for-you” features will check boxes for a wide array of beverage consumers.

Watermelon Natural Fruit Flavoring, TTB-Approved | Abstrax Hops

Fruit Flavored Functional Beverages

Functional beverages, drinks that promote benefits outside of their nutritional value, have technically been around for quite some time. However, their booming popularity in recent years is noteworthy. 

If you attended this year’s Expo West, you may have been overwhelmed by claims like “supports gut health” or “immunity boost.” From teas that offer mood support to sports drinks that advertise faster muscle recovery, the wide variety of functional beverages is a testament to the huge demand for such products.

What’s particularly noteworthy is how functional beverages are slowly chipping away at other beverage categories. For example, brands like Olipop and Poppy offer digestive support and are positioned as an alternative to sugary sodas. Brands like Little Saints offer non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverage alternatives to classic cocktails while providing “a consequence-free mood lift.”

Regardless of marketing positioning, flavor is still a pivotal part of what appeals to consumers. Mintel reports that “For Gen Z, function is welcome, but not second to flavor. They’re not under the idea that NA beverages must be fun; instead, their focus comes back to the experience of flavor in the drink. In other words, flavor with function, not functional flavors.”

Kombucha, a fermented beverage, is a particularly good example of this. Despite facing industry-wide challenges during the pandemic, market research shows that diverse and appealing flavor choices have helped the kombucha segment grow considerably. 

For example, the brand Rowdy Mermaid is experimenting with kombucha flavors that marry “the aromatic essence of Japanese yuzu with the zest of lemon and an invigorating kick of ginger.” They expect to continue exploring fruity flavor combinations like these in the future to continue appealing to consumers.

Pineapple Natural Fruit Flavoring, TTB-Approved | Abstrax Hops

Meet the Demand for Fruit Flavors with Skyfarm

When a beverage says it tastes and smells like strawberries, it needs to deliver those flavors and aromas. So, ditch the sugary fruit bombs, say goodbye to the aroma of grandma’s potpourri, and give your customers a beverage with the most perfect version of fruit flavor and aroma. 

Our TTB-approved Skyfarm Series is perfect for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Built from the ground up using isolated terpenes to provide the brightest fruit flavor expression possible, Skyfarm gives you the ultimate flavor consistency, no added sugar or calories, and a label with “natural flavors” on your ingredient list.

Contact us today, and let’s formulate your beverages with the authentic flavors and aromas of fruit.

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