Consumers Rank Immune Support Top Need From Functional Beverages, Per Report

A new report from Kerry shows that consumers around the globe are primarily looking for immune, gut and heart health from their functional beverages.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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Kerry functional beverage

Kerry, a private label food and beverage development partner, says that immune, gut and heart health are the primary features consumers look for in functional beverages, according to new research.

Kerry surveyed over 10,000 consumers in 18 countries around the globe, and found that the need for targeted wellness attributes is still important when it comes to beverages. The research showed that a total of 53% of global consumers are interested in beverages containing ingredients specific for immune support, but want to see science-backed ingredients, citing vitamin blends, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics as the top ingredients on their radar. Although the overall taste experience is important, the primary focus of consumers is on the nutritional value and impact of these ingredients.

Weight management, heart health, muscle recovery, energy, endurance and bone health were all noted as functions consumers want out of their beverages options, providing an opportunity for private brands to develop new beverages.

A preference for beverages supporting skin and hair beauty was more pronounced in several developing markets (such as the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia, India, Poland, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala), and continues to be a priority in leading markets including the U.S. and U.K. New product launches containing collagen have risen by 19% over the past four years, and products containing biotin have risen by 14% during the same period.

“A significant opportunity exists in the functional and fortified space, with the conventional line between supplements and beverages blurring,” said Soumya Nair, global director of consumer research and insights at Kerry. “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.”

Based in Beloit, Wisc., Kerry has a team of over 1,100 food scientists that help create products for private brands.