Beloit, WI—Immune, gut, and heart health still rank as main concerns for functional beverage consumers, while beauty and sports performance are on the rise, according to Kerry. The functional beverage market is expected to expand at 10.49% annually, reaching nearly $200 billion by 2026 (Food Institute 2021).

Commenting on these findings, Soumya Nair, Global Director of Consumer Research and Insights at Kerry said: “A significant opportunity exists in the functional and fortified space, with the conventional line between supplements and beverages blurring. According to our research, a total of 86% of consumers stated they would pay a premium for food and beverages with added functional benefits. Consumers today have compounding need states. While their top priority need states remained consistent over the years, there is growing focus on balance—balancing beauty with digestive support, immunity with sports performance, as consumers seek their personalized idea functional and fortified solution. To win in this space, manufacturers need to create products that support top concerns such as immune, digestive, cognitive, joint and heart health, and include science-backed functional ingredients to increase credibility. Kerry can transform your idea into a market leading functional beverage or supplement, with a toolbox of solutions and ingredients from botanical extracts to science-backed ingredients like Wellmune and BC30 to help your brand innovate across a broad number of consumer need states.”

The study findings showed that immune support continues to be the highest health priority for consumers. A total of 53% of global consumers are interested in beverages containing ingredients specific for immune support, but want to see science-backed ingredients. Vitamin blends, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics were the top ingredients noted. Researchers at Kerry surveyed over 10,000 consumers from 18 countries to better understand consumers' changing priorities and preferred ingredients in functional beverages. 

Further, results showed a preference for beverages supporting skin and hair beauty in a number of developing markets (including the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia, India, Poland, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala). Beauty continues to rise in popularity in the US and UK. In addition, products for sports performance, muscle recovery, and endurance have shifted and expanded to “weekend warriors” consumers with active lifestyles in addition to athletes. Finally, these results implied a need for customized and personalized solutions in the space.

Related: Trends Driving Growth in Functional Foods & Drinks Shoppers Look to Relieve Stress Through Functional Ingredients Survey: Gen Z, Millennials Power up with Energy Drinks