According to new research by Kerry, immune, gut and heart health continue as important concerns for functional beverage consumers, but beauty and sports performance are on the rise.

For its research, Kerry says it surveyed more than 10,000 consumers from 18 countries across North America, South America Europe, the Asia Pacific, South Africa and Australia to learn more about their changing priorities and preferred ingredients in functional and fortified beverages. The research found that immune support is still the highest health priority for consumers and is a particular focus not only in the U.S. and UK, but also across developing markets including Guatemala, Brazil, South Africa, the Philippines and India.

A total of 53% of global consumers are interested in beverages containing ingredients specific for immune support but want to see science-backed ingredients, citing vitamin blends, omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics as the top ingredients on their radar. Although the overall taste experience is vital, the primary focus of consumers is on the nutritional impact of these products and the quality of ingredients used in them.

Needs differ by age and life stage—implying a need for customized and personalized solutions, with the research indicating a holistic need to improve inner and outer wellness. Consumers are also more proactive and have come to understand the link between long-term health and nutrition and achieving their beauty goals. A desire to address weight management, heart health, muscle recovery, energy, endurance and bone health all point to a desire for all-around wellness.

A preference for beverages supporting skin and hair beauty was more pronounced in several developing markets (such as the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia, India, Poland, Brazil, Colombia and Guatemala) and continues to be a priority in leading markets including the U.S. and UK. New product launches containing collagen have risen by 19% over the past four years, and products containing biotin have risen by 14% during the same period (Innova, 2022).

Meanwhile, products geared toward sports performance, muscle recovery and endurance are also no longer the preserve of athletes; they are high on the agendas of many thousands of “weekend warriors” who are keen to lead a healthy and active lifestyle, the report finds.

Kerry's new eBook, Functional Forecasting, is available for download here.