Trending Ingredients in Functional Beverages

Trending Ingredients in Functional Beverages

Madeline Scanlon

From vitamin water to plant milks, American consumers look to drinks to stay healthy. A functional beverage is any drink with added health benefits. Consumers of these wellness beverages use them regularly—often daily—and typically consider them to be part of their wellness routine.

The functional beverage category is wide and has many underlying trends. These include:

  • Health claims around increased immunity
  • Products designed to increase relaxation
  • Additives to promote gut health and heart health

With a variety of use cases, one thing these beverages have in common is their use of functional ingredients. These ingredients—whether naturally part of the drink or an additive—give the beverage their function. Most people have used caffeine or vitamin C, but there are more functional ingredients now than ever.

The functional ingredients consumers look for

Looking at Evergi Consumer insights, we can see the ingredients American consumers currently find important in the products they purchase.

Uncovering the ingredients customers already look for allows brands to create products that will equally excite on shelves. It’s better to launch a product to a roaring crowd of users rather than crickets. In other words, it’s strategic to launch a product with active consumers rather than convince people to try something foreign.

The most important ingredients consumers consider for their products

  1. Vitamin C
  2. Vitamin D
  3. Caffeine
  4. B-12
  5. Probiotics
  6. Apple Cider Vinegar
  7. Omega 3/Omega 6
  8. Ginger
  9. Zinc
  10. Turmeric

Vitamin C and Vitamin D are on the top of the list. Both are well-researched and have a recommended daily allowance (RDA) set by the US Food and Nutrition Board. Calcium and zinc have an RDA too. These are the ingredients we learned about in health classes and from doctors. We need these nutrients daily to keep our bodies well.

Also on this list are “crunchier” food ingredients like ginger and turmeric. Both popular in spices and teas, they have gained popularity as dietary supplements amidst the increased interest in alternative medicine. Our Evergi Consumer data shows 43% of Americans prefer alternative medicine.

What do we mean by “crunchy?” These consumers are eco-minded, care about sustainable well-being, and look for this in the products they buy. Taking apple cider vinegar or ginger provides well-being to those seeking preventative health choices. Though there’s no RDA of ginger, these crunchier ingredients often come from historic medicinal practices, like Chinese or Indian medicine.

With traditional and alternative ingredients together on this list, we can see there are diverse ways consumers choose to stay well.

The ingredients consumers talk about online

As wellness has become more important to consumer life amid the pandemic, brands have called on more ingredients. We look to our Evergi Conversations data to see the functional ingredients with the biggest share of voice for functional beverages. 

Comparing the top ingredients people look for and the ones they talk about online helps identify current trends.



CBD, collagen, and elderberry are the only three that don’t appear on the list above of ingredients consumers are looking for. Elderberry is part of the wider trend of immunity. Collagen may be finding a place in self-care routines spurred by the pandemic. Those trends also apply to CBD; with its many use cases, it has continued to grow in popularity.

Ingredients talked about online that are also sought after by consumers are a great opportunity for brand engagement. For example, say your brand’s beverage includes probiotics. With so much chatter around probiotics, there are existing conversations for you to enter. 

The same goes for a turmeric tea brand. What are people online saying about turmeric and how can my brand join in on the conversation?

Key Takeaway: By knowing the ingredients consumers are already looking for and talking about when it comes to functional beverages, brands can craft messages that stick and new products customers will love. 

Ingredients are just one part of the puzzle.  

Dig deeper into functional beverage trends and consumers. View the FREE 2021 report!

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