What Consumers Want From Functional Drinks🧉

Read consumers minds with these 5 insights about what drives their desires for functional drinks (according to 21+ pieces of research).

About us: Market Shake is curated by GourmetPro. We help you unlock growth in F&B by matching you with local experts who have the skills and experiences to ensure your projects succeed. Explore our services.

We’ve spent weeks pouring over the latest consumer research about functional drinks. Here are the 5 things I learned about what the modern consumer is demanding from their beverages (that the industry really shouldn’t ignore).

In Today’s Email:

  • In The News: the risks of ignoring misinformation, Quorn’s B2B ingredient bet, Coca-Cola’s foray into fruit, and more.

  • Trending with Gen Z: a new way to eat brie 🧀

  • Innovation Deep Dive: consumer intelligence about functional drinks.

    • 1. Functional Beverages: everyone’s thirsty.

    • 2. Profile of a functional drinker: not just health conscious.

    • 3 - 5. What Consumers Want from functional drinks:

      • 7 key benefits consumers seek

      • 6 trending ingredients

      • 3 up and coming categories (including water!?)

📰 In The News

Our favorite F&B innovation stories from this week. Can be read in less than a 🧻 break.

📱Trending with Gen-Z

What social media is telling us about Gen-Z’s cravings! Can be enjoyed during an 🛗 ride.

  • Whipped Brie: Videos like this one of cheese anarchists whipping brie are taking over TikTok and look destined to spawn all manner of whipped food trends.

🧉 Innovation Deep Dive: Consumer Intelligence

Weekly deep dive into an F&B trend. Can be read in less than a 🚋 ride.

1. Functional Beverages: Everyone’s Thirsty

Functional beverages have traditionally been consumed by sports and fitness enthusiasts.

This group of consumers tends to have heightened awareness about the vitamin and nutrient content of what they put in their bodies. They consume with specific health goals in mind and often need specific quantities and combinations of vitamins and minerals to hit them.

But now, a broader range of consumers are seeking functional benefits in beverages to support their holistic health.

In recent years, consumers have become more aware and more interested in focussing on proactive health. Shoppers are more willing to pay premium prices for food and drinks that bring added functional benefits. The COVID-19 pandemic added an extra jolt to this trend, heightening consumer desire to protect themselves against health threats posed by age and the environment.

More and more consumers are using functional drinks to support different aspects of their health, and demand for these beverages is booming.

2. Profile of a Functional Drinker

Existing research paints a clear picture of the modern functional drinks consumer. 


🏋️‍♀️ Take a proactive approach to a healthy lifestyle.

🧖🏻‍♂️ Tend to be affluent millennials who are willing to spend more on food and drink. They care a lot about maintaining their health, eating healthy, and leading a healthy lifestyle.

🌯 Scrutinize labels and research ingredients.

🎯 Aim for specific health goals when they consume their beverages.

Share insights with your colleagues and friends:

There are also other noteworthy profiles of functional beverage consumers. Diet consumers - people who follow specific diets like keto, low-carb, lactose-free, etc. - seek functional drinks as alternatives to products they can’t consume for dietary reasons. People interested in non-western forms of medicine and herbal remedies are also attracted to functional drinks.

Last but not least, casual consumers are developing an appetite for functional drinks. Flavor is still their top priority but, if that’s there, they may ditch their regular sugary, caffeine-packed energy drink for one with value-added functional benefits. Demand in this segment is interestingly being boosted by the sober curious movement through which consumers are increasingly being introduced to non and low-alcohol beverages fortified with functional beverages.

3 - 5. What Consumers Want From Functional Drinks

7 Benefits Consumers Seek

Consumers around the world prioritize the following 7 benefits according to research from the Kerry Group:

  1. Skin (beauty support)

  2. Immune Support

  3. Hair

  4. Weight management

  5. Digestive and gut health

  6. Heart health

  7. Muscle recovery

These needs differ by region of course.


In North America, Australia, and South East Asia, cognitive health-related benefits are among consumers’ top 10 functional priorities. This is not so for European consumers who prioritize internal health, like heart and bones, and external health - hair and skin. Across nearly all regions, consumers prioritize Immune support and skin health - two key opportunity areas for functional beverages.

6 Trending Ingredients

Consumers are looking for ingredients in functional drinks that have multiple benefits.

Take collagen as an example. Product launches containing collagen have risen by 19% over the last four years, and functional beverages containing the ingredient are much sought after in APAC. In addition to skin-boosting benefits, collagen also plays a role in healthy hair and strong bones.

Here are examples of other functional ingredients that are trending with consumers:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar - supports metabolic health, weight loss, and heart-health, etc.

  • Probiotics - digestive health, mental health, sports performance, etc.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Heart health, brain health, vision, etc.

  • Green Tea Extract - weight loss, heart health, etc.

  • Vitamin D - Immune support, bone health, mental health, etc.

  • Ginger - Digestive health, immunity support, menstrual support, etc.

3 Up and Coming Categories

Demand is growing across all drinks categories for products with functional benefits.

Simporter, an analytics company, identifies that consumer interest is shifting away from categories that traditionally add functional benefits to drinks like juices and teas. Instead, popular categories like soda, coffee, and water are seeing large spikes in demand.

The fastest-growing category of functional drink by user interest is soda. The category saw a 31% growth in online mentions in 2022. Coffee and then water are hot on soda’s heels though in terms of mentions from consumers online.

Consumers have high expectations for new breeds of these traditional drinks. Low sugar is a must, as are no artificial ingredients. Instead of these, consumers are attracted to micronutrients that bring enhanced sleep, focus, and skin clarity. Plant-based proteins and fibers are also sought-after additions to beverage ingredient lists.

That’s all folks

Thanks for reading today’s newsletter.

Share your ideas for how we can improve with this 30-second, anonymous, 2-question survey:

See you next week as we explore the latest consumer research in the functional drinks space.

💌 If you have any questions, you can directly answer this email. We read and answer all messages.

💖 And if you think someone you know might be interested in this edition of Market Shake, feel free to simply forward this email or click the button below. 💖

👉 P.S.: GourmetPro is also on Linkedin and Twitter!