Preferred taste no longer primary driving factor
behind beverage purchases

A shift is occurring at grocery stores and c-stores, and it’s in the beverage aisle and cooler cases. Whether you want to optimize hydration at the cellular level, improve acuity and cognition restore youth with collagen and peptides, increase blood alkalinity, or experience a sense of calm – you can. New and old beverage companies are flooding the market with pre-packaged liquid and powder forms of ready to consume functional beverages created to satisfy every need.

It’s long been known that consuming recommended daily amounts of water is essential to good health. Coffee is an age-old stimulant, and herbal teas are often the go-to for all kinds of ailments. But over the last two decades beverage manufacturers have made quite a “splash” staying on-trend with consumer demands for grab-n-go options. For the most part we’ve seen performance-related beverages, sports drinks - like Gatorade, and energy drinks - like Red Bull, become a mainstay at impulse/checkout areas.
Energy drinks have risen to comprise a whopping 31% of beverages purchased at convenience stores.

Today, the retail landscape of the beverage aisles and cooler cases is evolving once again. Energy drinks face a host of new competition vying for those purchasing dollars, and thanks to nutritional science those competitors fall largely under the rapidly emerging category, “Functional Beverage. The options are endless, but at the forefront of the trend are beverages that deliver brain or mood boosting, and relaxation, benefits. Among the middle-aged and elderly population, functional beverages that boost cognitive health are on the rise. Additionally, stress and sleep functional drinks have increased in popularity.

The “functional beverage” category is the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverage category today. Why? Industry reports cite increasing consumer awareness regarding their options along with an increased number of Americans wanting to supplement their desire for high-quality life and lifestyle. People want to feel better, perform better and look better.

According to a recent report from Linchpin (an SEO research firm), the increasing range of functional beverages will advance the scope of the market and lead to more research and development opportunities. Specifically, companies are looking for ingredient combinations that will maximize health and mental benefits. And all that research leads to new products, which is forecasted to grow at a CAGR rate of 5.9% between now and 2030, making it more than a $200 million market come that time. (See Exhibit A)

Functional Beverage Infographic

Exhibit A, Source: Research and Markets

Below we’ve shared a quick swipe of some of the most popular drinks by category – hydration/restoration, focus and calm. The ingredient panels on these products are proof enough that the developers aren’t skimping, and while the price points may seem alarming, the adage that “you get what you pay for,” definitely applies.


Biolyte Bottle


Equivalent to drinking 6.5 16 oz bottles of sports drinks or 2.2 bottles of the leading children’s rehydration drink. Contains b12, b6, b5 and L-Carnitine to give you a natural boost of energy. Cleanses liver with milk thistle, gluconolactone and n-acetyl. Soothes upset stomach and maintains sugar levels.


FocusAid Cans


100% Focus + Nootropics. ZERO SUGAR. Say hello to Keto-friendly CLEAN ENERGY with ZERO SUGAR + Nootropics. FOCUSAID ZERO SUGAR contains all the clean quality ingredients to help you focus and get in the zone—at work, school or on the go—including Nootropics (Alpha-GPC + GABA) and Rhodiola Rosea, plus 100mg of natural caffeine from green tea and yerba mate. Now with zero sugar (naturally sweetened with monk fruit & Stevia).


Miraflora Drink


Formulated and developed by American CBD company, Miraflora Hemp Infusion Beverages contain 35 mg of hemp flower extract plus a blend of healthy vitamins and nutrients. Their claim to uniquely effective products is the nutrient-dense soil found in the Rockies and fertilized by their well-loved herd of alpaca.

In closing, what does all of this “beverage buzz” mean to MANUFACTUERS AND BRANDS? It’s simple. As categories like this one diversify, product development is spurred – and that means more competition in-store, competing for consumer attention and dollars. Instore and promotional displays are a proven way to get your brand noticed. But more importantly, well-designed displays know how to effectively engage and educate the consumer about your products features and benefits. Moving more product out of your hands, and into theirs. Spectas is currently working with several Functional Beverage companies as part of their Retail Marketing strategy.