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November 9, 2016updated 27 Jan 2022 2:42pm

A worry over alcohol consumption gives way to more sophisticated tastes in the non-alcoholic drinks market

From water butlers, seasonal flavours and all-natural sodas, the beverage industry is taking on a new approach to target the rising demand of adult soft drinks.

The appeal for sophisticated, premium drinks is on the rise, but why the sudden change? It’s true, many adults are opting for alcohol-free beverages as a way to avoid or reduce their consumption.

However, research has found that consumer needs go far beyond alcohol alternatives with the soft drinks market tapping into a whole range of needs from consumers.

GlobalData’s consumer research highlights that 41 percent of alcohol consumers claim to be concerned with reducing the amount of alcohol, while 49 percent are conscious with the long-term impact of drinking too much. Now consumers are turning to sophistication, premium flavours and overall quality as the primary drives behind their beverage choice.

The report also shows that 62 percent of carbonated drink consumers experiment with new and unusual food and drink flavours, illustrating their willingness and desire to explore sophisticated flavour profiles beyond their comfort zone.

Health has also played a part in consumers’ change of heart with consumers taking a more conservative approach when it comes to sugar consumption, often opting for low sugar and low calorie soft drinks.

When asked how high they believed the sugar content in juices and smoothies was, only eight percent of consumers believed it to be low. Similarly, nine percent of consumers believed the sugar content to be low in carbonated soft drinks while 70 percent believed sugar consumption to be high.

This has given companies the opportunity to experiment with low sugar variants as well as focus on creating new unique flavours, sophisticated packaging and an effective ‘brand story’ that consumers are looking for.

Adults are in search of ‘worthy’ sodas suitable to entertain guests and trendy enough to order at a bar with friends. Brands are also launching products that replicate flavours commonly associated with alcoholic drinks with 56 percent of consumers seeking more craft-style non-alcoholic beverages.

There’s no doubt that much is changing, and with more premium tastes and quality offerings, the adult soft drinks market is expected to continue gaining ground.