The top five soft drink flavours for 2021


GlobalData, a data and analytics company, reported that the non-alcoholic drinks sector achieved a 0.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2015 and 2020. As a result of producers’ struggles in recent years, there have been global efforts to reduce calorie and sugar content and develop novel flavours to attract consumer attention. 

“Beverage flavours are arguably the most important factor in determining consumer purchasing decisions, with 29 per cent of global consumers stating they would happily try a new drink flavour out of simple curiosity,” GlobalData beverages analyst Holly Inglis said. 

“This highlights huge incentive for producers such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo to launch new product developments – and reinforces soft drinks as a fast paced, innovative industry.” 

These are the top five flavour launches in 2021 so far, which are shaping the global soft drinks landscape. 

Going “green” with hemp and CBD 

Hemp and CBD infused drinks are continuing to gain interest, with products like Trader Joe’s non-dairy hemp beverage in the US and Sonnenstar’s hemp juice shot in Austria. 

“While hemp and CBD are positively received by a third and fifth of global consumers respectively, GlobalData’s survey indicates that a considerable portion are still unfamiliar with the ingredients,” Inglis said. 

“Producers must address this to ensure the longevity of their hemp- or CBD-infused launches.” 

Mango, let’s go 

“Mango flavoured drinks have emerged in Romania and Singapore, though a flurry of innovations with flavour combinations that incorporate mango have been observed in the US, UK and France,” Inglis said. 

“In the US, PepsiCo’s Bubly Bounce product tags no calories or sweeteners and is a carbonated water brand combining grapefruit, mango orange and passionfruit aromas.” 

PepsiCo’s Bubly Bounce. Image credit: PepsiCo.

Isn’t that just peachy 

Peach flavoured products are also gaining interest. 

“Peach-based products such as Lipton’s peach tea with honey, and Badoit’s peach flavoured sparkling flavoured water in France both tag either low calorie or low sugar bases, reinforcing positive brand connotations, and favourable views on peach as a flavour base,” Inglis said. 

Ginger spice and everything nice 

“Ginger, on the other hand, has been integrated across parts of the globe such as Nigeria, South Korea and Peru, in line with consumers opting for products that promote digestive health and wellness claims,” Inglis said. 

Reinforcing links to health and wellness and promoting opportunities to develop products that align with trends, 78 per cent of consumers believe that ginger has a positive effect on their health. 

It’s “grape” to be back 

Grape-based products have also made an appearance in 2021, despite current stereotypes of grape flavoured beverages seen as high in sugar. 

“A notable launch in Brazil from EBBA tackles this narrative via its grape nectar, which is claimed to have no added sugar,” Inglis said. 

These flavour launches all apply to varying consumer trends in the soft drinks landscape across the globe. 

“Health and wellness attributes are meeting experimental flavours, which then crosses with exotic launches, appealing to a wide array of consumers,” Inglis said. 

These launches will set the tone for the future of a prospering soft drinks market. 

“Although only five ingredient developments have been highlighted, the future is expected to see a number of developments, from flavours such as aloe and berry; we will also see more flavour combinations hit the shelves, combining non-fruit and herbal notes, with unique fruit bases,” Inglis said. 


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