Highlights from Imbibe’s 2020 beverage trend predictions

January 10, 2020

Imbibe Inc., a beverage development company, has release its beverage trend predictions for 2020. According to Imbibe, many of these trends will be driven by health and wellness. Current ideas of health and wellness are not limited to physiological health but also include emotional health, and beverages that meet these needs will continue to be a catalyst for innovation, says Imbibe of its Holistic Wellness trend prediction.

“Expect brands to ‘go back to the basics’ by incorporating essential nutrients into beverages as well as novel ingredients suggested to improve relaxation and temperament,” said their article. For example, omega-3s have a lot of value in beverages, says Imbibe, because of its various health benefits that not only include cardiovascular health but also cognitive health.

“Many consumers are reducing their intake of beverages once lauded for having nutrient benefits like orange juice and dairy milk, so there’s a lot of opportunity for brands to fortify products with vitamins and minerals,” explained Imbibe. “Expect to see beverages fortified with zinc, calcium, potassium, sodium, and vitamins B-12, C, and D.”

Adaptogenic herbs and cannabidiol (CBD), with their stress relieving properties, will continue to rise in popularity and be incorporated into beverage formulations to become common ingredients, said Imbibe. A related prediction called Hybrid Functional Beverages highlights the need for consumers to address multiple need states. These beverages will include a combination of ingredients that work in harmony to fulfill specific goals.

“The most common hybrid beverage launches will be energy drinks enhanced with popular sports nutrition ingredients, synbiotic beverages (combining probiotics and prebiotics), enhanced RTD coffee, and functional beverages across categories with CBD added to amplify a product’s other health benefits,” said Imbibe, in a press release.

With a number of CBD mentions, it’s no surprise that the ingredient is its own trend prediction, dubbed the Green Rush. While the 2018 Hemp Farming Act has made it easier to cultivate hemp, there remains lack of clarity as to the regulation of hemp-derived CBD in food and beverages by FDA. This, however, has not stopped brands from manufacturing such products, which have proliferated significantly and have high consumer demand and opinion. “Hemp oil, hemp extract, and broad-spectrum hemp extract will be the most common ingredients used in CBD beverages (though many brands are choosing not to call out CBD content because of FDA warnings),” predicted Imbibe in a press release.

Flavors play a huge role in beverages and offer important insights into the potential trends of 2020. For example, Imbibe predicts that botanical flavors will be a big trend in 2020. Imbibe stated that “Botanical flavors will continue to flourish in 2020 because they add sophistication and nuance. Floral, herb, and spice flavors will primarily be used in combination with familiar true-to-fruit flavors.”

Hibiscus is a popular choice that Imbibe says will continue to flourish as well as lavender, rose, and elderflower, combined with flavors like berry, lemon, and peach. Similarly, exotic flavors such as those reminiscent of Latin America and Asia will satisfy consumers’ desire for adventurous sensory experiences. “Global flavors from Latin America and Asia like guava, blood orange, yuzu, chili, cayenne and cardamom will be popular in beverages across categories,” said Imbibe in a press release. “Ingredients with bold colors like blue majik (derived from spirulina), turmeric, beet, matcha, and butterfly pea flower will be used to create visually appealing beverages.”

Texture also plays an important role in providing sensory experiences. “Creamy textures from nitrogen-infusions and whipped ingredients will continue to proliferate,” predicted Imbibe. “Beverages with chewable ingredients like boba and basil seeds will also become more prevalent.”

Another important trend that will factor into both the ingredients used in a beverage and the packaging, is sustainability. “Brands will improve efforts to create a circular economy by launching products that use upcycled and locally sourced ingredients, compostable packaging and less packaging material overall, and strawless lids,” said Imbibe in a press release. “Brands will also continue to add plant-based beverages to their product portfolio because they are perceived as more sustainable than animal products.”