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Top 3 trends in the functional hydration beverages market for 2019

2019-11-01 16:17 Friday

The hydration beverage industry is ripe with opportunity for savvy brands, according to many market commentators, but what exactly are hydration drinks and what factors are driving the demand in this growing sector?

As the beverage industry expands, the word hydration is appearing more and more as a feature of positioning statements and added benefits. A 2018 survey of 1,043 adults found that 77 percent of U.S. workers do not drink enough water to meet their daily health needs.


As even mild dehydration can lead to undesirable effects such as tiredness, headaches and reduced concentration, so some buyers are actively seeking out hydration solutions that fit their wellness needs and improve their workplace performance.

Whilst water is by its very nature hydrating, scientific research and product innovations are opening up new doors for increasing bodily hydration through smarter drink formulations.

With consumer needs driving growth in this space, premium hydration beverages saw a 2.9 percent per-year increase in consumption rates from 2003 to 2013. The market for functional hydration-focused beverages is expected to continue growing in the coming years.

Global sales of plant-based waters in particular are expected to reach over US$ 2.7bn per year by next year, and the healthy beverage niche is expected to diversify product offerings as manufacturers continue to innovate.

Let's take a look at three of the main emerging trends that are set to define the hydration industry in the short term and long term future.

1. Hydrating energy drinks

At first glance, the terms "hydration" and "energy drink" look like they shouldn't belong in the same category. But public demand for cleaner, healthier energy drinks is prompting some brands to innovate and come up with creative new products that blur category lines.

For example, U.S.-based beverage brand Zola have produced a sparkling coconut water that is infused with caffeine extracted from green coffee beans. It is part energy drink and part hydration beverage.

Zola's product relies on the higher potassium concentration in coconut water as a means of influencing the sodium-potassium pump. This alters the osmotic pressure of cells in the body and improves their water absorption ability. The company claims their drink offers as much of an energy boost as 2 shots of espresso, without having the dehydrating effect.

2. Expansion for plant-based options

Hydration beverages are following the wider functional food and beverage trend of using plant-based ingredients, with more and more plant waters and fruit and vegetable being blended into drinks positioned as being for hydration.

In particular, plant-based waters like chlorophyll water, pressed lettuce water, and electrolyte-enriched sweet potato water are gaining popularity. The branded V8 +Hydrate by Campbell's, for example, uses a combination of natural, plant-sourced electrolytes and juice from sweet potatoes to provide rapid hydration to consumers.

3. Social media influencer marketing

Lastly, hydration beverage brands are adapting the way they market their products. Influencer marketing has become a popular strategy. This has led some brands to take on celebrity spokespeople or accept celebrity investments.

In this method, hydration drink companies are accessing the fame and power of influencers to gain a bigger share of the market.

In 2018, for example, functional drink company CORE Nutrition LLC implemented an influencer marketing campaign for its line of pH-balanced mineral- and electrolyte-enriched purified waters. Other hydration brands like Peak Hydrate and Essentia Water have partnered with a variety of influencers, including race car drivers, football players, and lifestyle bloggers.

As executives gain more awareness of influencer marketing, expect more brands in the hydration space to start building partnerships with celebrities and social media influencers to help forge closer links with their customers.

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