Targeted support with beverages

Nutritional OutlookNutritional Outlook Vol. 27 No. 4
Volume 27
Issue 4

Consumers are looking for healthy beverages with targeted benefits.

 Photo ©

Photo ©

Consumers are increasingly turning to functional beverages for specific health benefits. According to Brightfield Group, 66% of consumers actively seek food and beverages that enhance their well-being, which the market research firm says reflects a shift toward intentional living.1 When it comes to functional beverages, says Brightfield Group, consumers are moving away from beverages touting more generic ideas of wellness for a “holistic” approach that incorporates beverages into daily routines for “targeted optimization.” This means they are looking for beverages that meet specific needs such as brain health, mood support, and physical performance.

The market researchers SPINS, has also observed this trend. Based on sales data from the 52 weeks ending June 18, 2023, the top three performing health focuses in beverage were cleanse & detox with 38% sales growth year-over-year (YoY) and $15 million in sales, mood support with 28% sales growth YoY and $22 million in sales, and hair, skin, and nails with 16% sales growth YoY and $8.6 million in sales.2 Within the soda category, SPINS observed a staggering 219% sales growth YoY for digestive health, and within the water category, sleep support saw 295% YoY sales growth. More recent figures from SPINS, based on the 52 weeks ending February 25, 2024, show that mood support has jumped to ahead of cleanse & detox as the fastest-growing health focus in beverage with 49% sales growth YoY, and digestive health has taken the number three slot with 27% YoY sales growth.

While other health focuses are growing rapidly, energy and hydration are the top selling health focuses in the beverage space, says SPINS. When it comes to energy, as an ingredient, caffeine grew 27% compared to the previous year, outpacing the rest of the market. But as we mentioned in last month’s Energy story, the category is changing as consumers are looking for even more targeted benefits. Brands like PepsiCo’s Rockstar Energy are going out of their way to conduct research to validate claims such as “sustained mind and body energy” to differentiate their proprietary energy formula from other energy drinks on the market. They’re also utilizing trending ingredients such as lion’s mane in their Rockstar Focus line. So, while the energy space is definitely performing well, it’s also evolving in response to the increasing demand for targeted support.

This is particularly important when you consider the trend toward moderation Brightfield Group is observing. Their trends show that 26% of consumers are driving the growth in the products with targeted benefits, while an additional 37% are interested in targeted benefits but have not yet made any purchases. According to Brightfield Group, “consumers might be opting for these beverages less frequently than traditional options, but when they do consume, they’re seeking products with specific functional benefits.”

Therefore, consumers are very discerning about what they want, which means there is also a lot of untapped potential to capture consumers who have yet to find the functional beverage that best fits their needs. Perhaps, eventually, they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for.


  1. Kregor, J. Chasing Peak Performance: Functional Beverages Redefine Daily Rituals. Brightfield Group. April, 26, 2024. (accessed 2024-04-29).
  2. Beverage Category Performance and Insights: Mid-Year Update 2023. SPINS. October 23, 2023. (accessed 2024-04-29).
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