Friday, June 14, 2024

Consumers struggle to discern healthful beverages

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Many consumers find it difficult to know which drinks are healthier and this suggests there is a knowledge and awareness gap that brands can address. Mintel research highlights that 31% of consumers say it is hard to know which beverages are healthy.

Today’s hectic and stressful lifestyles are pushing Indian consumers to look for healthy and convenient food and drink products. Almost half of Indian consumers say living a healthier life is their top goal over the next three years.

 Educating consumers about the health benefits that the drinks have to offer is one way of creating differentiation in the market. Clear and consistent communication around better-for-you characteristics of a drink may help brands to create differentiation in the market.

Currently, every brand across different sub-categories is fighting for consumer attention, making it difficult for them to identify healthy drinks. This makes it more important for brands to demonstrate how and what kind of health benefits they offer and communicate it in tangible ways that consumers can understand.

Brands that help consumers do so earn trust and long-term usage. For example, use front-of-pack messaging to effectively convey the healthy character of the drink. Calling out ingredients on pack and linking them to the health and functional benefits can also help consumers make healthy choices.

Key Trends in Beverages

Sugar reduction is high on agenda: In line with Mintel Trend ‘Supernanny State’, globally as well as in India, governments have been stepping up to help consumers make better health decisions through new regulations. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched ‘Eat Right India’ Movement in 2018, which is a multi-sectoral effort to nudge citizens to eat right. One of its key initiatives is focused on reducing intake of salt, sugar, fat, phasing-out trans-fats from our diets.

Need for holistic wellbeing drives drink choices: Mintel Trend ‘Help Me Help Myself’ highlights how consumers are learning new ways to nudge themselves towards better habits and healthful choices. Living a healthier lifestyle is a top goal for almost half of Indian consumers. On cue, forward looking brands are promoting, facilitating and guiding consumers to choose healthy beverages.

Consumers seek proteins in beverages: Living a healthier lifestyle is a top goal for almost half of Indian consumers. Mintel Trend ‘Help Me Help Myself’ highlights how consumers are learning new ways to nudge themselves towards better habits and healthful choices.

What Consumers Want

Consumers want high-protein: Tier-1 consumers want satiety and indulgence in the afternoon. Mintel research highlights that almost a quarter of Indians say that it will be interesting to try a beverage with added protein in it. However, very few recent beverage launches in India carried high/added protein claims. While consumers seek better-for-you beverages, high protein claims can be deployed to bolster the healthfulness especially for the juices and RTD tea/coffee categories.

Tier-1 consumers want satiety and indulgence: Consumers living in Tier 1 cities find ‘filling’ and ‘indulgent’ attributes in beverages to be more appealing for the afternoon occasion. There is potential for beverage categories to tap into the afternoon snack occasions, especially for Tier 1 consumers by offering satiety and indulgence.

For example, using high protein and complex carbohydrates in beverages can help add satiety to the beverages. Brands can also look to add fruit bits, nuts and other food ingredients that add texture to the beverage, which in turn provides a feeling of satiety or fullness and also increases the perception of healthfulness of beverages.

Consumers want energy boost: As consumers kickstart their mornings, the need for energy is not just an instant pick-me-up, but also a sustained and slow-release energy boost coupled with healthfulness. Given the busy and time-pressed urban lifestyle of metro and Tier 1 consumers, there is potential for brands to tailor beverages for breakfast and mid-morning occasions with a focus on energy boost, nutrition and savory taste.

With the ongoing focus on health and wellness, convenience, and premiumization, the market presents ample opportunities for both domestic and international players to innovate and capitalize on emerging beverage trends. However, success in this competitive landscape requires a deep understanding of local tastes, preferences, and cultural nuances, coupled with agility and innovation to stay ahead of evolving consumer demands.

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