lemon and lime

Functional Shots Highlight Holistic Wellness Trend

Functional shots for wellness are becoming more popular as consumers look for simple ways to boost and maintain their health. Explore the market growth in wellness shots—plus the top flavors, health benefits, and opportunities ahead.

Highlights:

  • Functional beverages and shots have gained popularity as consumers look for more health benefits following the pandemic. 
  • Consumers are searching for natural RTDs with benefits that promote their healthy lifestyles. 
  • Flavors associated with functional benefits help to catch consumers’ attention.

What Are Functional Shots?

Functional shots—or wellness shots—are functional beverages in a small, fun format consisting of just a few ounces. While energy shots may be the best-known type, these RTD shots have been expanding to offer a much wider variety of benefits. Wellness shots blur the lines between beverage categories as they may use juice, coffee, and other beverage types as a base.

RTD shots are on the rise in the US, with new product launches growing from 17 in 2019 to 31 in 2020.1 They are also doing well globally, with the $369.3 million global functional shots market expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.4% from 2020 to 2027.Functional beverages have become especially important to consumers during the pandemic as consumers try to stay healthy and seek out specific benefits like energy or focus.

How Wellness Shots Help Consumers 

Functional shots help support consumers’ health goals at a time when health is top of mind for many. As consumers focus on managing their health during the pandemic, some approaches they’re taking are getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating well-balanced diets, and taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements.3 Products that are health-focused and convenient like wellness shots are especially appealing right now.

The top health and functional benefits featured in today’s functional shots include:

  • General wellness/vitality
  • Energy
  • Protein
  • Workout fuel
  • Gut health
  • Focus
  • Antioxidant/anti-inflammatory
  • Hangover cure

Wellness shots that rely on natural ingredients to deliver their functional benefits are trending and often resonate with consumers as being healthier. These can range from superfruit ingredients to plant-based proteins to adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms.

herbs and spices

Convenience is also a major draw of wellness shots as they offer consumers a quick and convenient way to get the health benefits they’re seeking. In addition, their small size makes them easy to travel with and store, while aseptic processing can make them shelf-stable.

They also offer a more enjoyable way to consume specific health-promoting ingredients compared to dietary supplements, for example. Brands can promote the daily intake of functional shots to encourage the habit and support repeat purchases.

Opportunities to Improve Wellness Shots

Taste is a key driver of purchase intent for functional shots. Yet, there is a significant performance gap among shots currently in the market compared to other similar beverages. While 29% of US consumers put taste in the top two purchase drivers for shot products (specifically energy, juice, and probiotic shots), it’s 38.7% for performance nutrition products overall.4 Communicating great taste is an opportunity to boost sales in RTD shots.

ginger

The top shot flavors in US new product launches from January 2017 to February 2022 were ginger, turmeric, berry, apple cider vinegar, and beetroot.5 Flavors linked to functional benefits are the fastest growing and include ginger and turmeric, which are known by consumers for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Elderberry is a flavor to watch going forward as more consumers are learning about elderberry’s role in immunity.

Looking Ahead

Shifting from functional shots that promote specific benefits to those that emphasize general wellbeing is a way for brands to broaden the consumer base. For brands that do want to focus on specific benefits, cleansing/detox and probiotics shots are starting to go mainstream, while shots for beauty, cognition, and stress relief are emerging.

Glanbia Nutritionals can support your health-focused beverage brand with our line of functional beverage ingredient solutions and aseptic beverage services. Aseptic processing and packaging are perfect for functional shots and other health and wellness beverages, offering fresh taste and maximum shelf life—without the need for preservatives. Our comprehensive services include concept and prototype development, as well as new bottle design and custom flavors.

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References

1. Mintel GNPD, 2021.
2. Grand View Research, Functional Shots Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report, 2020-2027, October 2020.
3. FMCG Gurus, Top Ten Trends for 2022, January 2022.
4. Mintel Purchase Intelligence, 2022.
5. Mintel GNPD, 2022.

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