The beverage industry has been quite an interesting segment that has caught my attention for over a decade. To begin with I shall limit myself to elaborate on only the non-alcoholic segment of the beverage industry. For a better understanding let's look into the past of how this industry has evolved over the decades. Initially, people used to consume freshly brewed products like teas, coffees, dairy-based products, and other blends like fruit juices and other regional traditional drinks. Later on, with the introduction of packed products being easily available in the market, like soft drinks, & other aerated products started ruling for the last few decades which were chosen purely based on their instant refreshing taste.
The rise of freshly served beverages
Well, here’s what I have realized over the few years of experience being in the beverage industry. There’s has been an imperceptible change in the consumers' behavior over the past few years. The market has seen how there’s been a niche for healthy products. Consumers have also started looking at drinks from the perspective of health which leads to products like packed fruit juices, energy drinks, etc. Having said this, it is known that people are inclining towards healthy products and this is evident as we notice bigger players of the soft drinks/aerated drinks industry introducing products that specified on marketing it under special tags like “sugar-free” &"diet” drinks. While the packed products created a niche of its own, there was a rise in freshly served beverages which revolutionized the cafe lifestyle with its freshly brewed products like coffees & teas.
Driven by Fruit-rich and not flavor-rich
As I look forward to the change that can impact the beverage industry with health likely to be the major driving factor and with Pandemic, the pace will be speeding up. There’s been a notable decline in the soft drink & aerated beverages relatively when compared to the other category of beverages. I have noticed that there is a dawning era of ‘Healthy lifestyle’ coming to life. The rise of healthier and wholesome beverages will bring in the bygone fruits based & other traditional beverages a resumption. The shift in focus towards a healthy lifestyle will bring in a requisite for freshly made beverages free of preservatives and flavors. People have created a demand for real fruit-rich products rather than just flavor-rich, giving a platform for products like cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and other organic juices. Hence, the consumption of beverages will descend from fully processed to semi-processed ascending towards completely natural beverages.
Valuing traditional products
We have currently reached a point where the Indian consumers are going back to the “Good old days” valuing our age-old traditional products which can be freshly made at home too and are proven to be much healthier beverage options while compared to the western options. This is purely because of the significant benefit of each of the ingredients that go into the making of these traditional drinks. Consumers today have woken-up to realize the importance of staying healthy. Subsequently, going forward I believe there’s going to be a growth of drinks with functional importance without limiting health to just a lifestyle habit. People are going to be keener on choosing products that suit their individual needs.
About the author:
Samrat Reddy is the Founder and Managing Director of the Drunken Monkey- the only Indian smoothie bar chain with a pan Indian presence. Started in February 2016, Drunken Monkey was initially a single smoothie bar in Hyderabad. Today the company boasts of 81 outlets across the country and is still growing! Samrat Reddy can be best described as someone who is continuously looking for novelty, speed, and competition.