2024 Beverage Trends: Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for Functional” Webinar Extended Q&A – Part 3

It’s here, the third and final installment of our 3-part expanded Q&A series follow-up to our “2024 Beverage Trends: Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for Functional” webinar.

Hosted by our experts Denise Senter, Edlong’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Bernd Koehler, Global VP of R&D, and Anne Marie Butler, Global Director of Strategy & Innovation, the webinar covered topics like:

  • How functional foods differ from the broader better-for-you category.
  • Trends and drivers in the market.
  • Taste challenges brought on by functional ingredients.

Denise Senter

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Dr. Bernd Koehler, Edlong Global VP of R&D

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

Anne Marie Butler, Edlong Global Director of Strategy and Innovation

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

This week’s Q&A addresses issues centered around functional product trends.


We organized this Q&A into three parts by the following topics.

For questions covered in the webinar, click the question link to jump to that part of the discussion.

Do you think the whole drinks category will move into functional?

Butler: Personally, I can’t see everything moving 100% into functional. I think there’s always going to be a need for both streams. There are times when you’re just going to want a drink because you’re thirsty, without the need for something extra.

Dr. Koehler: I agree with this, and it’s not that everything has to be functional. I think we need to take a holistic view. This means thinking about integrating these products as part of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. It makes sense to have specific functionality when you need it. It’s about understanding the problem that consumers are looking to solve and then tailoring the products in your portfolio accordingly.

Do you think we should pay more attention to CEO and thought leader podcasts when developing the next generation of products? They always seem to become trends.

Senter: I think it is important to pay attention not just to these podcasts but also to keep an eye on the key social platforms. One of our senior application scientists brings concepts that are coming out of TikTok as well as Instagram and YouTube into our customer meetings. And you’re definitely going to have to be aware of these because they have huge audiences. These can help spark concepts that you can then validate by looking at your own consumer and your target segment, ultimately making sure that it all makes sense together.


What do you think is the pricing elasticity of functionally enhanced beverages versus the base?

Dr. Koehler: This may not be a satisfying answer, but it really will depend on your consumers’ relationship with your particular product.

Several factors are involved: your brand perception and loyalty, your customers’ current expectations for your product in terms of taste, price point, and the role it plays in their lifestyle.

Also, you must consider what other products are available with similar functional benefits.

How do they compare and resonate with each other? What is your consumer’s level of emotional attachment to your product compared to others?

Ultimately, it will come down to the uniqueness of your value proposition in combination with your brand’s current standing in the marketplace.


Can you compare the trends with powdered drink mixes versus RTD (ready-to-drink)?

Butler: I think there’s a very distinct market between the two, and they are very much situated around occasion. Ready-to-drink lends itself really well to a lot more indulgence, whereas powdered drinks tend to lend themselves to more functional. A lot of the powdered drinks we see are protein-fortified energy that you would use for the gym or in the category of hydration vitamins boost energy, and I find they’re so convenient to have with you on the go. Whereas, with RTD being more indulgent, you see a lot more flavor innovation and excitement in that category. Many consumers have a higher perception of freshness when it comes to RTD versus putting something into water and shaking it up. With that said, the popularity of ready-to-mix is steadily increasing in markets with hotter, dryer climates like the Middle East. Due to the high price of water and a reliance on imports, I think we will be seeing continued innovation around dehydrated and powdered products in this space.

Hungry for more? Click the links below to check out Parts 1 & 2


Want to hear the full discussions around many of these important questions right now?

Topics: Better For YouBeveragesFunctional FoodsInnovation
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: EULATAMUS


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