G H Q
Consumers want better-for-you beverages that taste great and can replace a meal when needed.
BY REBEKAH MARCARELLI
THE TERM “LIQUID LUNCH” may soon be taking on a whole differ- ent meaning. Breakfast may become “the most important beverage of the
day,” and before long parents will be telling
their kids, “drink your dinner, or no dessert.”
An exaggeration perhaps, but not by much.
According to Chicago-based research firm
Mintel, three in five consumers use nutritional
and performance drinks as meal replacements.
The habit is driving consumers toward beverages that taste great, provide nourishment and
contain trustworthy ingredients.
“Today’s time-crunched consumers are
looking for healthier refreshment, conve-
nience and functionality—they want trans-
parency into what they are consuming, and
they expect quality ingredients,” says Kevin
Klock, president and CEO of Preston, Wash.-
based Talking Rain Beverage Co. “Brands that
meet the demands of these consumers while
providing a great tasting and truly functional
beverage product will have the opportunity to
win at retail.”
Having a favorite f lavor was the most impor-
tant factor for consumers when purchasing
nutritional and performance drinks, accord-
ing to the Mintel report. This is likely because
80 percent of consumers view nutritional and
performance drinks as a great guilt-free snack.
Industry observers predict carbonation will
also be a big hit this year as consumers continue their retreat from soda.
“One of the things we recognized a while
ago that’s now very common is that the sparkling aspect of beverages is important to a lot
of consumers who do want to shift away from
soda to more healthier options,” Klock says.
Protein was the second-most important
factor in consumers’ decisions to purchase a
functional performance beverage, and better-for-you beverage producers have noticed