Attributes for a Healthy Life
Sudipta Bhattacharjee, Research Analyst with Zenith Global, defines functional juices as those providing a health benefit beyond their basic nutrition content, incorporating physiologically active added components.
The functional juice market has been growing steadily year on year, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating further growth. The pandemic has changed consumers’ attitudes towards health and immunity, as well as focusing on the health benefits of ingredients in products they are consuming. Although the aspect of ‘functional’ juices might have been a trend in previous years, experts expect that this will continue well into the future. The concept of a healthy life with a key focus on immunity has been brought to the forefront throughout the pandemic.
Young people and parents are often the target market for many functional juice companies. Amongst younger consumers, functional juice provides innovative flavours making a great addition to a busy lifestyle. However, in future years, strong marketing and sales campaigns are needed to appeal to all demographics so that a wider consumer base can reap the benefits of functional juice and lead healthier lifestyles.
Research indicates over 75% of adults consume vitamins and minerals in supplement form. However, functional juice provides consumers with an easier way to consume their daily vitamins and mineral intake. Additionally, functional juice is suited for on-the-go consumption, particularly amongst young professionals. During 2020, on the go consumption considerably reduced as consumers took up working or studying from home. As there has been a greater onus on a hybrid work lifestyle in 2021, on the go consumption is expected to steadily rise post-pandemic, benefiting the functional juice segment.
Functional juice shots have been increasing in popularity for on-the-go consumers. In the past, these typically 50ml to 100ml sized shots would be sold in specialist cafes and juice bars. However, there has been an expansion of functional juice shots into the retail sector. This has been driven even further by the pandemic as the majority of restaurants and cafes were closed. Alongside retail growth, higher demand has risen for online delivery services such as those offered by US-based company Uncle Matt’s Organic who produce functional juice shots containing live probiotics and vitamins C, D, and zinc. Supermarkets such as Wholefoods in the US and Sainsburys in the UK have also been widening its offerings of functional juice shots in stores, highlighting retail expansion into this growing category.
Other trends in this market include no additives and no added sugar in functional juices but consumers are now requiring more from juices. This includes juices with enhanced functionalities such as vitamins C, D, and zinc which has all been proven to strengthen immune systems, as well as reducing symptoms of fatigue. Pairing this alongside natural immunity-boosting ingredients such as ginger also coordinates well with a healthy lifestyle. In Western countries, there is a trend of incorporating ingredients traditionally found in Eastern countries such as ginger, turmeric, and ginseng in functional juices. For example, Suja Juice in the US, offer immunity juice shots all containing probiotics and ranging from turmeric, reishi mushroom and ginger flavours. In the UK, Plenish offers a lemon and ginger variant containing vitamins A and C for a healthier immune system.
Countries within the Asia-Pacific region such as Japan and Australia continue to lead the way for immunity boosting functional juices. Asian giant POKKA offer juice made with vegetables such as its carrot juice enriched with antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E available in the Singaporean market. Australia’s Bae Juice created a hangover juice containing Korean pear which helps to absorb alcohol, reducing symptoms such as headaches and sore throats.
Experimenting with both vitamins, minerals and natural immunity boosting ingredients in functional juice not only improves physical health but also has a positive impact on mental health. Research suggests regular amounts of magnesium, zinc and iron in consumers’ diets has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of stress. Functional juices allow for a broader healthier lifestyle encompassing both mental and physical wellness. For example, market leader PepsiCo’s Tropicana updated its functional juice range in late 2020. Available in the UK, the Tropicana + range contains added vitamins C, B6 and magnesium and are more clearly labelled to make it easier for consumers to understand the benefits of each drink in the range.
Whilst incorporating several different ingredients certainly has increased benefits, functional juice does not require a multitude of ingredients for it to be beneficial. New Zealand based brand ’73 Citrus proves this as the company launched a sparkling orange juice with liposomal vitamin C in 2021 which helps to increase absorption and increase immunity.
Functional juice has solidified its position in the market, as a core component in consumers’ day to day lives and has proven to be a popular option within the soft beverages’ category. Functional juice is a key attribute for a healthy lifestyle and an integral aspect of a stronger body and mind.