If you were asked to choose between fortified water, soda, and juice, which would you prefer to drink? Many people would still probably choose soda. However, the reality is that the sales of sweetened beverages like soda are declining globally.
This downward trend can be attributed to the increasing awareness of people about the adverse health impacts of sugar-laden drinks. People are now looking for ready-to-drink beverages that deliver both flavor and health benefits but without the sugar and calories.
Dairy functional beverages are on the rise. Milk, milk drinks, and dairy alternative drinks are some of the most in-demand functional drinks now. Yogurt drinks and fermented drinks featuring health claims are also in demand.
Milk offers a wide array of health benefits, foremost of which is its high calcium content which is important for bone health. Potassium, protein, and choline are just some of the important nutrients found in milk. And in fortified milk, there’s vitamin D, too.
Several decades ago, milk was simply milk. At present, however, there are various types of milk available on the market such as low-fat, skimmed, whole milk, and so on. And there are also a number of non-dairy milk substitutes available now.
Lactose intolerance, concerns over increased risks of medical conditions like diabetes, and ethical issues are just some of the reasons why many consumers are looking for substitutes for milk.
Various non-dairy milk substitutes, derived from various plant sources, are now available on the market. Each of these products boasts of a different flavor and nutritional profile as well as health claims.
Soy milk, derived from soybeans, is a popular milk substitute that has a similar nutritional profile as that of cow’s milk. Soy milk is also considered as an excellent source of isoflavones and protein but with very minimal amounts of saturated fat.
Almond milk, on the other hand, is derived from ground almonds. As a milk product, the advantages of almond milk include it’s being lactose-free and that it contains no saturated fat. It’s also a good option for vegans who are looking for milk substitutes.
Coconut milk is also a popular alternative to milk, and is the top choice for lactose-intolerant people with soy and gluten allergies. Because of its nutty flavor, coconut milk is also a great choice for baking or cooking purposes.
Coffee remains one of the most loved and in demand drinks globally. Sales of caffeine-containing energy drinks have grown over the last couple of years. So did sales for coffee as well as green tea, the latter showing the biggest growth in sales from 2015 to 2016.
Although a cup of freshly brewed hot coffee is still universally loved, there’s a higher demand now for fortified cold-brew coffee. Consumers are looking for more vitamins and natural caffeine in their cold-brew coffee drinks as they want additional health benefits from their coffee.
Global sales of energy drinks are also increasing. And it’s not just athletes that are consuming energy drinks. Regular consumers are fueling the growth in sales of energy drinks, which are promoted not only as energy boosters but also as cognitive enhancers that increase concentration and alertness.
There are several safety concerns, however, regarding the caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks. In many products, caffeine and sugar are the main ingredients providing the energy boost. Studies have also shown that energy drinks mixed with alcohol have various adverse effects.
Thus, although energy drinks offer many benefits, it is best to drink them only in moderation. And just like with any other product, it’s equally important to check the label first to determine the product’s caffeine and sugar content.
Protein and Probiotic Drinks
As consumers are choosing drinks with ingredients that are considered healthy, protein drinks and probiotic drinks are also seeing growth in sales. Yogurt and kefir have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years.
Yogurt is unique in terms of the range of flavors available, the health benefits it offers, as well as the diverse ways it can be consumed and incorporated in any meal. Yogurt drinks add value through its portability and ease of consumption. And when mixed with fruit juice and bits, yogurt drinks are simply irresistibly healthy.
Yogurt is known to have wide-ranging health benefits, not just for improved digestive health. Yogurt is also known to help boost the immune system. Because it is primarily a dairy product, yogurt contains a lot of calcium, which explains why it’s good for bone health.
One of the most popular reasons why people drink yogurt is that it helps manage weight issues. There are many reasons why yogurt is believed to be helpful in managing weight. For one, the probiotic content of yogurt helps improve digestion and aids in regulating bowel movements.
Moreover, as a substitute for milk, yogurt continues to provide the nutrients one can get from milk, but with fewer calories. Yogurt is also associated with belly fat loss and increased fat burning.
In a recent study involving obese women, those who were taking probiotic supplements equivalent to yogurt lost more weight and continued to lose weight over the 24-week test period as compared to the subjects who were not taking the supplement.
Aside from probiotic drinks, people are also consuming more protein and meal replacement drinks. Protein drinks and shakes continue to be popular among active consumers such as fitness enthusiasts, athletes, as well as bodybuilders.
Unlike protein shakes, however, meal replacement drinks are formulated to provide the nutrition equivalent to that of a healthy full meal. Meal replacement drinks offer a complete package of vitamins and minerals, proteins, as well as dietary fiber.
And because they’re very convenient, meal replacement drinks are very attractive to people on the go who often don’t have the time to sit down and eat. Aside from the convenience, meal replacement drinks also help consumers avoid unhealthy meal ingredients like processed food.
Meal replacement drinks also have a lot to offer to people who are trying to lose weight. Many consumers, when cutting back on calories in order to lose weight, often miss out on various important nutrients. Meal replacement drinks address that problem by providing a healthful balance of essential nutrients while offering fewer calories.