Probiotic Drinks More Popular Than Ever

There is an increasing number of health-conscious individuals who prefer to buy products that have more nutritional value than junk foods. As a result, the sales of probiotic drinks increased by 31.2% over the past year based on the data generated by the Chicago-based research company, SPINS.

But what could have led the change of heart to switch from standard sugary drinks to probiotics? Consumers have become increasingly aware of how important it is to maintain a healthy gut for good overall health. On top of that, the natural approach to digestive health is trending. With an increasing number of people opting for healthier drinks, this also pushed beverage manufacturers to find innovative ways to add more nutritional value to their products.

New Niche Created By Probiotic Beverages

Beverage makers are now using botanical ingredients to add natural flavor and nutritional benefits to their drinks. Uncommon ingredients such as lavender, lemongrass, elderberry, and turmeric are being added to intrigue consumers. They have also incorporated probiotics in different bases including dairy, grains, plant-based milk, as well as fruit and vegetable juices.

Some manufacturers have created shelf-stable probiotics that contain billions of live good bacteria that can last longer than traditional probiotics.

Backed by Science 

Good stomach health has always been linked to a better immune system. What resides in the gut is a plethora of microflora that controls the release of hormones and even the body’s metabolism. Probiotic drinks are marketed as healthy drinks that can help in weight loss, depression, and solve allergy problems.

The results of the extensive research involving probiotics have been used by beverage companies to create exceptional drinks. But aside from using probiotics, beverage companies are also interested in using fiber to boost the nutritional value of their products.

For instance, studies have indicated that the use of chicory root can feed the normal microflora bacteria in the gut. According to Carol Lowry, Cargill’s senior food scientist, chicory root can enhance the growth of lactobacillus in the gut thus maintaining the neutral balance of the gut. This is the reason why beverage manufacturers are also looking into using chicory roots in making powdered beverages, flavored water, smoothies, and juices. Even coffee has been seen as a marketable product that may possibly contain chicory roots.

While the industry of probiotics has huge market potential, food scientists are still facing a huge obstacle to creating beverages that are still tasty and can withstand higher temperature without destabilizing its structure.

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Bottled Water is Top Beverage Among Generation Z

For more than a few decades, carbonated drinks and sodas have remained as the number one beverage. In fact in 1998, an average American drank 54 gallons of soda and only 30 gallons of water a year. However, the excessive consumption of soda fueled the country’s rising rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes, and as a result many have shifted to other healthier beverage options. But with the age of Generation Z and Millennials at hand, soda is now being replaced by a pure and unadulterated drink–water.

Bottled Water and Beverage InfographicGen Z and Millennials have been taught to make healthy choices. This is especially true when it comes to choosing beverages. A recent survey conducted by the Beverage Marketing Corporation and Fluent indicated that most Millennials and Gen Z prefer natural drinks like water.

It is important to take note that these generations grew up knowing that soda and sugary beverages are bad for you. This is the reason why many opt to drink water. However, this also creates an opportunity for beverage companies to create healthy drinks to fill in the niche.


Bottled Water Tops the List

It is interesting to know that bottled water tops the list of beverages that gen z and millennials prefer. In the survey, 43% of the correspondents consume water seven times per week while 22% consume it with coffee, milk or tea.

The popularity of bottled water as the healthiest alternative to soda and other flavored drinks is the reason why it became the second most popular drink in the United States. Soda companies are shaking in their boots.

What makes it perplexing is that tap water is also available, but respondents still prefer bottled water. In fact, 20% indicated that they solely drink bottled water instead of tap water due to safety concerns (Flint, Michigan). However, more are willing to drink from the tap as long as it has been filtered with an efficient filtering system.

As more and more people have become conscious about their health, water has become the most favored beverage in the country. Unlike other drinks, water does not contain any calories. It makes sense since we need it to survive.

What’s Next for Bottled Water?

The bottled water industry has fast-tracked since people started drinking more water than soda. In fact, an average American today drinks 58 gallons of water compared to two decades ago. That’s a 20-gallon increase since 1998. So what’s next for bottled water?

Industry experts suggest that the bottled water will surely hold on to the top spot for many years to come. But the question whether people will start drinking from the tap is still uncertain unless they are sure about the source of their water.

The popularity of water as the number one beverage allowed companies to develop their line of flavored water as well as enhanced water to appease the market’s growing need for innovation. However, the concerns for plastic can cause a backlash in the industry, and this is something that water bottling companies need to address.

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