Innovations in Sports Drinks
Sports drinks have become ubiquitous in the US. From moderately active individuals to competitive athletes, many consumers turn to sports drinks to replenish fluids and electrolytes and quench their thirst. Let’s take a look at the latest trends in this already-booming market.
Reducing sugar content is a major trend in several different products, including sports drinks. Consumer concerns around the effects of sugar on their health have had an impact on the entire beverage industry. In fact, many US consumers now purchase fewer sports drinks because of their high sugar content. Sports and energy drink manufacturers alike are responding with products that are lower in the sweet stuff – or even free of it altogether. Sugar is replaced by a range of alternative sweeteners, such as fruit juice, stevia, or sucralose – or simply made to be less sweet.
This year, the challenge for brands is to save consumers time without sacrificing taste or health benefits. This trend presents ample opportunities for sports drink brands to create quick, customizable, and healthy products that meet modern needs. That often means concentrated formats, such as energy shots and gels. These fast, no-nonsense drinks are becoming more popular because we can consume them while studying, during sports, on the road – anywhere time and convenience are of the essence. The advantage and speed of sports drink shots are also being combined with functional products that address specific concerns, such as relieving cramps or enhancing energy.
A focus on flavor
Taste is a barrier to many consumers who would otherwise enjoy sports drinks regularly. The most recent trends in sports and energy drinks have centered heavily on flavor innovations. It’s not hard to find someone who shies away from sports drinks because they don’t care for the taste. That’s why manufacturers of these beverages are now addressing this concern with new, delicious, refreshing flavors. Citrus and other fruit flavors top the list, along with lemongrass, yuzu, and cola flavors. Energy drinks are also getting flavor inspiration from their alcoholic counterparts, such as whiskey, rum, and beer.