Developing Your Healthy Drinks Category

The pandemic has heightened interest in some of the prevailing trends that have emerged in the drinks market over the last few years: health, plant-based ingredients and sustainability. And it’s oat milk that is still grabbing all the headlines, with sales of oat milk almost doubling from £74m in 2019 to a whopping £146m and overtaking almond milk as the most popular choice.

A third of Brits now use plant-based drinks, according to research by Mintel, up from a quarter in 2020. And this is even higher in the younger generation, with almost 44% of Brits aged 25-44 buying plant drinks. Whilst plant-based milk sales have reached £394m, up 32% on the previous year. The category might be led by the big five: oat, almond, coconut, soya, and rice, but there is much innovation in ingredients and formats. Our healthy drinks expert, Rachel Redman, registered Dietitian and consultant to DUG Drinks, explores the latest expansion of this trend, potato milk, on page 8.

When it comes to health, sugar remains a key concern with 70% of consumers now looking for low or no-sugar options when choosing soft drinks. But It’s not just about taking out the bad stuff, consumers are demanding additional functional benefits from their drinks, such as helping to boost their digestive and immune systems, helping to relieve stress or anxiety and aiding them in getting a good night’s sleep. And it’s the tea category that is the focus here, as research from Mintel suggests that 72% of tea drinkers are interested in getting at least one extra health benefit from their tea. Turn to page 4 for an insight into the tea trends to look out for in 2022, from Keith Garden, Managing Director of Dr Stuarts & Higher Living Teas.

To help you stay up-to-date with this fast-moving category, we’ve produced this updated Healthy Drinks Buying Guide packed full of new product innovations and proven bestsellers, as well as the latest market data and insights. We’ve also pulled together our top-selling products in each category, to provide you with some 1m planogram inspiration.