February 2012/Prepared Foods -- Beverages, like all product categories in the U.S. market, have had a bit of an up-and-down time in recent years, at least in terms of new product introductions. In non-alcoholic beverages, the U.S. market experienced a significant drop in new product introductions in 2009. That drop has begun to reverse itself, but new non-alcoholic beverage introductions have not regained the high of 2008, nor are they likely to any time soon.
That drop can be almost completely attributed to the recession, as companies have scaled back their offerings while retailers cut back on stock. The result, across all categories, is a leaner and meaner market environment, with perhaps a bit more focus on ensuring products clearly deliver what consumers are seeking.   

woman drinking

Not surprisingly, most common claims on non-alcoholic beverages are those actively promoting a sense of inherent healthfulness. For example, beverages making no additives/no preservatives claims in the U.S. accounted for almost 11% of all new products. “All-natural” claims appeared on 10% of products. Launches of new beverages with a vitamin/mineral-fortified claim accounted for just under 6%.

From a consumer standpoint, Mintel research reveals that about three in four U.S. consumers say a beverage’s label influences their decision to buy the drink, specifically if the drink is labeled as a good source of vitamins, minerals, fruits or other “good for you” ingredients. pf