Riding the Wave of Flavored Waters

Consumers’ thirst for healthy, flavorful, and functional beverages has spurred growth in the flavored waters market. Interest in new and unusual taste combinations, trendy herbal infusions, and ingredients that support energy and well-being are transforming a competitive and ever-evolving market.

Orange mango, strawberry watermelon, blackberry cucumber, and pineapple coconut are just a few of the rising stars in the global flavored waters market, which reached $10.3 billion in 2018, up from $6.5 billion in 2013, according to Euromonitor International. In the United States alone, sales nearly doubled, jumping from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion during the same time period.

One of the most dynamic categories within soft drinks, flavored water has garnered a significant share of overall bottled water sales and given rise to new market niches that respond to consumers’ interest in healthier and more functional beverage options. New product launches increasingly promise to enhance consumers’ physical and mental well-being, touting ingredients that are natural, free of added sugars, pH balanced, and in line with popular diet trends, such as keto, paleo, and Whole30.

The emphasis on clean, natural taste is at the core of many successful brands. “Many consumers perceive products with clean label claims to ‘taste different’ than traditional products,” says Keera Perumbala, marketing associate, Sweet & Beverage Flavors at Sensient Flavors. “During primary research by Sensient, consumers mentioned that clean label products ‘taste crispier, more robust, and more flavorful’ to them. Clean label products convey higher quality and create more natural sensory experiences.”

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