4 Trends Driving Dry Beverage Mix Innovations

assortment of colorful fruit drinks

From offering sustainability to premiumization, dry beverage mixes can be customized to fit a range of consumer needs

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KerryDigest Fast Facts:

  • The popularity of dry beverage mixes is on the rise among consumers and foodservice operators.
  • The portability offers a convenient option for on-the-go consumers and delivery orders while the concentrated format makes dry beverage mixes more sustainable.
  • Once considered simply a budget-friendly option, dry beverage mix launches are on the rise in the premium, clean label and functional spaces.
  • Our research supports product innovations and improvements for dry beverage mix brands.

KerryDigest Full Scoop:

Dry beverage mixes are having a moment. In recent years, dry beverage offerings have evolved from budget-friendly products to premium and functional options, ranging from electrolyte powders with zero sugars and innovative flavors to keto-friendly cold brew marketed to improve energy and focus.

The shelf-stable customizable products are an obvious choice for consumers seeking better-for-you, clean label options that are also better for the planet and provide convenience and added functionality. For these same reasons, dry beverage mixes can satisfy the needs of foodservice operators, too. For brands operating in the dry beverage space, we’ve put together the following recommendations, highlighting four different pathways for innovation.

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Clean label dry beverages

Consumers continue to want clean label products with recognizable ingredients. According to Kerry’s 2019 Future of Food research, 74% of consumers frequently read product labels when purchasing food and beverages, including dry beverage mixes. Consumers are looking for familiar ingredients and they’re also analyzing the nutrition of clean label products. In our clean label research, we found that product claims of “no added sugar” and “reduced sugar” ranked fourth and fifth in clean label claims important to consumers when purchasing beverages. Brands innovating in the dry beverage market can consider creating reduced sugar options, highlighting already low sugar levels or using recognizable sweeteners that connote clean label, such as honey or agave.

Functional dry beverages

In 2019, we found that 65% of consumers seek added functionality and increased functional benefits from everyday food and beverage products, according to our proprietary proactive health research. Today, functional benefits including immune support and gut health have become even more important to consumers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including from foodservice operators. Functional claims are growing across beverage applications, especially in dry beverages. According to our recent dry beverage research, dry beverage launches with a functional claim have grown by over 70% in the last year.

Within the functional dry beverage category, digestive health claims have grown 200% over the past few years, as drinks like kombucha and kefir became more popular with consumers. According to Datassential, kombucha has experienced a 317% growth since 2016, including in retail products and on foodservice menus. In dry beverage mixes, functional benefits such as immune support and gut health can be delivered through pantry ingredients including ginger and apple cider vinegar, as well as science-backed ingredients like probiotics and yeast beta glucans.

Even more convenient dry beverages

Consumers are looking for simple beverage solutions they can easily make on the go or at home across a range of beverage categories. In our 2020 dry beverage research, convenience appeared in the top five most liked attributes across all retail dry beverage concepts. Stick packs make it easy for consumers to create beverages virtually anywhere.

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The design is also a win for foodservice operators. Restaurants can include stick packs with delivery and to-go orders to help simplify the delivery and takeout process and ensure consumers to enjoy a hot or cold beverage at the preferred temperature. Using dry beverage mixes can provide a consistent product and simplify back-of-house efficiencies for operators and restaurants looking for accelerated operational solutions during COVID-19.

Sustainable dry beverages

Brands and consumers alike are looking for more sustainable ingredients and products. Dry beverage mixes are a natural fit. When dry beverages are made using ingredients and solutions that are sustainably sourced and created, they can be marketed through sustainability callouts and storytelling. When compared to liquid solutions, dry beverage formats contribute to sustainability efforts by using less packaging and—due to a longer shelf life—can result in less spoilage or waste. Dry beverages are also easier to ship than liquid formats, cutting down on carbon emissions.

To learn more about consumer preferences in the dry beverage market, download our new report, “Accelerating Beverage Adoption.” To find out more about our dry-based beverage solutions or to discuss partnering with Kerry, contact us.

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