Beyond Quenching Thirst: The Increasing Market Demand for Functional Drinks

Jun 29, 2023 | News

From weight management to mental health, functional drinks offer consumers a wide range of benefits that align with a current seismic shift in consumer trends towards health and fitness. A shift that was accelerated by consumers evolving needs brought by the covid-19 pandemic. When entering a very competitive market in the beverage industry, additional functionalities to your product will assist in differentiating your product from competitors. 

The Nutrients in Beverages journal defines functional beverages as “nonalcoholic drinks containing nontraditional ingredients like minerals, vitamins, amino acids, dietary fibers, probiotics, added raw fruits, etc. Energy drinks, sports drinks, and functional bottled water”.

The demand for functional beverages is incredible. Datassential reports that 80% of consumers in the US are interested in functional beverages with 42% of these being very interested. Functional beverages are a wide ranging category, so it’s important to know where the demand in the market is. When asked “Which functional health benefits in a beverage are you interested in? (top 10 answers)” by Datassential, respondents answered:

Energy 45%
Sleep Support 40%
Stress reduction 40%
Heart Health 37%
Immunity 37%
Weight management 36%
Bone/joint health 33%
Longevity 31%
Gut/digestive health 31%
Anti-inflammatory 28%


If we turn our attention towards the Irish market, we will find that the demand for protein-fortified beverages has moved from gym-oriented markets to the mainstream markets. Protein smoothies, fortified-water and carbonates are amongst popular choices for consumers looking to increase their protein intake. These drinks are often marketed as assisting recovery and building muscle.

Despite the growing demand for various supplements and benefits to be added to beverages, one characteristic remains paramount, taste. This has made it more difficult to appease consumers’ demands, as a drawback of functional drinks is that the added ingredients often create difficulties with flavours and textures.  

Regardless of whether your beverage offers your target market a refreshing kick or an indulgently rich experience, recent statistics show that the added functionality of your product is what will get your product from the shopping cart to the shopping receipt. If you have a great idea in mind, but need an extra hand getting your product from concept to shelf, contact us to help you get started.