8 trends in flavoured soft drinks that will surprise your senses

Posted on 25 May, 2018

More than 50% of consumers around the world prefer healthy, low-sugar soft drinks. Carbonated beverages are losing their market share in favour of other types of soft drinks such as non-alcoholic cocktails, smoothies and flavoured mineral water.

1.- Reviving soft drinks with more traditional flavours

One of the most refreshing and healthy trends puts the spotlight on sparkling water. For the vast majority of consumers, a bubble-free soft drink lacks a good part of the essence of the soft drink. However, they do prefer additive-free versions. And so one of the options that looks likely to take off in summer 2018 is sparkling water with fresh fruit. Soft drinks seen as healthier and more natural. This formula has its origins in Italy and is quickly spreading around the world.

2.- Alcohol-free cocktails for everyone

Enjoying a colourful cocktail decorated with the typical eye-catching umbrellas is a favourite activity at the growing number of after-work venues. On the other hand, consumers prefer to restrict their alcohol intake to weekends or special occasions and this is why cocktails that retain all the ingredients of the original mix except alcohol have become popular. One of the most successful is the alcohol-free virgin mojito.

3.- Natural juices and smoothies

Although the traditional juice brands popularised multi-fruit smoothies quite a few years ago, this trend has only now reached the adult world. There are establishments where only combinations of fruit and vegetable juices are served and the “natural” label is the enticement. Each combination of ingredients has a function. Thus, there are antioxidant, energizing, vitaminized and detoxifying juices, among others. The smoothie is a way of preparing fruit juice where the liquid base is milk (from cows, almonds or other vegetables) or yogurt. The result is a denser, more satisfying drink. Many of these soft drinks with new flavours include ingredients regarded as super foods, such as goji berries.

4.- Unicorn drinks and flavoured soft drinks

While the habit of eating with the eyes is as old as the expression itself, millennials have given it a new dimension. Food presented in new forms and, above all, different colours is called unicorn food. Pastries, cakes and sweets provide the perfect niche for this type of food, which is based on the perception of colour and its associated emotions. 2018 has turned out to be the year of the unicorn drinks. The diversely flavoured soft drinks now have different colours too, in contrast to the 2000s, when the tendency was to create foods with more neutral colours. For example, white milkshakes or yogurts regardless of the taste.

5.- Reinvention of the slush: now with vegetables

The summer terraces have always had the classic strawberry and lemon slushes as their star products. Slushes combine the cold of chipped ice with fruit flavours and, in general, large doses of added sugar. Vegetable slushes retain the refreshing, hydrating properties of the traditional ones. The novelty is that vegetable slushes made with broccoli, spinach or celery, for example, introduce a health-giving component that makes them a new object of desire. Drinking a slush has moved on from being a mid-afternoon treat to become a refreshing way of looking after one’s health.

6.- Energy drinks for sportspeople in the form of soft drinks

Studies of buying habits reveal that, while women go for light drinks, men prefer energy drinks. Here too, the sugar-free versions are gaining ground. What’s more, apart from energy drinks, drinks designed for sportspeople are blazing a trail outside the gyms. These are flavoured soft drinks with added mineral salts. In this way, the world of beverages is linked to the tendency to include functional foodstuffs in everyday meal plans.

7.- Exotic teas with new flavours

Red tea and green tea revolutionized the world of functional, healthy drinks a few years ago. And at the present time new innovations in tea appear year after year, with the focus on two different aspects. On the one hand, at the level of marketing and design, tea has become synonymous with sophistication and lifestyle. Specific infusions that change their name to describe the function they fulfil, such as meditation or satiating tea, lay the stress on aesthetic change. On the other hand, the creation of new flavours, such as white tea with watermelon or black tea with ginseng, is focused on innovation in terms of flavours and sensations.

8.- Coffee revolutionizes the world of flavoured soft drinks

As with so many other things Japan is a pioneer in the innovation of soft drinks. The country’s big cities are full of vending machines dispensing both fast food and flavoured soft drinks. Among the latter, sweetened drinks with a tea flavour deserve special mention, which is not so strange when we remember that tea is the national drink. But the Japanese are also very fond of coffee. And so those same machines sell cans of coffee in its different presentations: espresso, black, decaffeinated, and with or without sugar. Some European supermarkets are already experimenting with these products. They are the natural substitute for take-away hot coffee during the hotter months.


Emotional benefits of the new soft drinks

A few years ago we used to look for products such as energy drinks on the supermarket shelves, which helped us to get through a hard day. Now the goal is to maintain emotional balance and calm, benefits promised by products such as vitamin-based smoothies or soft drinks with tea and other natural ingredients that reduce stress and anxiety. Drinks that help to draw a genuine smile.

The world of flavoured soft drinks is increasingly large and complex. The tendency of consumers to demand healthy products is combined in this case with the demand for attractive colours and flavours. Food and drink are no longer a necessity but a source of pleasure, and so there is a search for new textures and colours. Hence the success of smoothies and unicorn drinks. At Sensory Value we are experts in product testing and other innovative methodologies that help to understand the consumers. We can help you to find out how your soft drinks are perceived, not only by the most traditional consumers but also by the new generations who to a large extent determine the movements of the market.

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