woman drinking green juice

Building a Better Beverage for the European Consumer

From sports drinks to functional teas and waters, RTD beverages of all kinds are addressing the needs of European consumers. Explore some of the important attributes today’s consumers are looking for in a beverage along with key opportunities for beverage innovation.

From sports drinks to functional teas and waters, RTD beverages of all kinds are addressing the needs of European consumers. Explore some of the important attributes today’s consumers are looking for in a beverage along with key opportunities for beverage innovation.

What European Consumers Look for in Beverages

The €30 billion functional beverage market in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) is showing steady growth, with a forecast CAGR of 6.0% between 2019 and 2024.1 This illustrates the continued strong interest among consumers, particularly in Europe, in beverages that are better for them in some way. FMCG Gurus reports health as an important purchase driver for beverages, with 39% of consumers in the UK, 40% in Germany, and 52% in France actively seeking out beverages they associate with boosting their health.

The leading claim important to these consumers when purchasing beverages is "high in protein" (42% in the UK, 34% in Germany, and 27% in France)—ahead of "100% natural" and "no added sugar."3 Another sought-after benefit is added vitamins and minerals. In looking at new functional beverage product launches in Europe, "vitamin/mineral fortified" was the leading claim (at 46%) from 2019 to 2020.4

In addition to health benefits, beverage development for the European market should offer an enjoyable and memorable taste experience to attract consumers and keep them coming back. According to FMCG Gurus’ research, 56% of consumers in Germany, 51% in France, and 28% in the UK are more likely to pay attention to novel or exciting tastes when purchasing a food or beverage.5 Convenience is another important factor in choosing a beverage, with the RTD format increasingly popular as an easy, portable option.

two cups of milk

Areas of Opportunity for Beverage Innovation

While better-for-you beverages encompass a wide range of categories, one stand-out area for innovation is yogurt beverages. At €5.5 billion, yogurt beverages make up the second-largest functional beverage category after energy drinks in the EMEA market.6 With protein already in high demand and probiotic products popular for immune support due to the pandemic, yogurt beverage manufacturers have a key opportunity to expand their reach. Strategies include fortifying with additional immune-associated ingredients, boosting protein content further, and exploring innovative flavors.

The €1.8 billion functional juices category, along with the small but rapidly growing functional teas and coffees category (forecast CAGR 13.9% from 2019 to 2024),7 represents additional areas showing great potential for innovation. Besides added protein, vitamins, and minerals, the pandemic has triggered opportunities in these categories for stress, mood, and sleep support ingredients. Functional ingredients with potential here range from adaptogens to L-theanine or L-tryptophan.

Glanbia Nutritionals’ Protein Solutions

In the European market, whey protein leads as the favorite protein source, with 57% of European consumers indicating whey protein to be appealing or very appealing.8 As a global leader in whey protein ingredients and functional beverage development, Glanbia Nutritionals is well-positioned to help you take your beverages to the next level. Our Optisol® 1007 is just one example of our innovative whey proteins designed to solve common challenges in beverage development.

Optisol® 1007 is a heat-stable whey protein for low acid neutral pH beverages that performs well at pH 6.9-7.1 while providing a decrease in age related gelation, consistent viscosity levels overtime and descreased sedimentation. OptiSol 1007 is your solution for better performing neutral pH protein beverages. Contact us today to learn more about Optisol® 1007 and our other functional protein solutions for beverages.

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References

1. Euromonitor, October 2020.
2-3. FMCG Gurus, Country Profiles: UK, France, Germany, March 2019.
4. Mintel GNPD, July 2020.
5. FMCG Gurus, COVID 19 Survey: UK, France, Germany, February 2021.
6-7. Euromonitor, October 2020.
8. FMCG Gurus, Active Nutrition Survey – Q3 2019. Base: 11,000 European consumers: Europe classified as Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

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