Soft Drinks: Could pea and celery be the future?

Soft Drinks: Could pea and celery be the future?

Japanese and Nordic flavours are set to influence the soft drinks category, with savoury flavours and premiumisation also being the top trends, the new Fentimans Market Report 2019 has predicted.

The report, the first to be published by the soft drinks and mixer company, which uses data and analysis from CGA, also revealed that fermentation, savoury soft drinks, alternatives to traditional citrus offerings as well as premiumisation will also be trends for soft drinks in 2019 and beyond.

Fentimans said there is a “slowly shifting” focus towards Eastern influences such as those from Japan, with both the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics being held in the country.

The report also said that Scandinavian culture is increasingly aspirational to the British consumer. It said with ‘crossover’ ingredients such as juniper and pine already accepted by consumers, and more people aspiring to visit and explore Scandinavia, its influence in the drinks world “will continue to grow”.

“In addition, other more unusual flavours such as liquorice, lingonberry, cloudberry and sea buckthorn are likely to be used,” the report said.

The production process of drinks also looks set to grow rapidly in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic sector with fruit wines, meads, vinegars and drinks with varying fermented ‘bases’.  

“One of the biggest current success stories evolving from fermentation is the rise in popularity of kombucha and the widespread acceptance of its unusual acidity,” the report revealed. 

The consumer trend that has impacted most on the soft drinks category, and been most influential in the rise of premium choices, is the move towards lower or no consumption of alcohol..

One in eight (12%) consumers now say they don’t drink alcohol — an increase of four percentage points in just two years — and the number is even higher among younger generations. However, these consumers continue to visit outlets and they are looking for an exciting and high-quality non-alcoholic premium option. 

The report said: “Although we are starting to see more outlets taking their soft drinks and low and no-alcohol drinks menus more seriously, there is still significant headroom for growth, and exciting opportunities to engage better with this growing audience.”

In addition to people who are seeking an alcohol replacement, the recent boom in
 craft drinks has created a new discerning premium soft drinks consumer, who expects differentiated flavour experiences and premium quality options above and beyond ordinary carbonated drinks.

The soft drinks and mixers market in the on-trade continues to grow at pace— 5.4% by value in the last year. Volume growth was lower, which means that consumers are spending more on their soft drinks, and that the premium end of the market is driving the growth. Premium soft drinks now account for 11.5% of total soft drinks value, the report revealed. 

The increasingly prominent messages
 about the health implications of alcohol consumption have also led to a surge in the low and no-alcohol movement. 

Two in five (41%) business leaders surveyed by CGA identified this as a key trend to follow in 2019, making it a more hotly tipped issue than even craft beer (31%) or artisan coffee (28%).

The report also predicted that consumers will move away from traditional sweet soft drinks in favour of savoury ingredients. 

“Consumers will become more accustomed to vegetable and savoury flavours such as pea, celery, tea and beetroot across the entire drinks market, and we envisage this playing a major role in future soft drinks innovation,” the report said. 

It also predicts that with the rise in popularity of Asian cuisine, there will be a much greater variety of fruits beyond the traditional oranges and lemons to yuzu and bergamot.

Andrew Jackson, marketing director at Fentimans said: “Set against a backdrop of continual change and the need to imagine what the future may look like, the inaugural Fentimans market report aims to stimulate thinking and provide relevant market intelligence to help operators who work in the industry make better business decisions and contribute towards shaping their future.”


Soft Drinks industry stats: 

  • £4.5bn – value of soft drinks and mixers market in Britain
  • 5.5% year on year value increase in total soft drinks and mixers market
  • 15% - share of the total drinks market now taken by mixers and soft drinks
  • £517m – Value of premium soft drinks market
  • 33.1% - year on year value increase of premium soft drinks sales



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