2024 Beverage Trends: Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for Functional Webinar Extended Q&A – Part 1

Part 1: Consumers & Marketing

The response to our recent webinar blew us away.

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 “2024 Beverage Trends: Quenching Consumers’ Thirst for Functional” 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

Let’s connect on LinkedIn!

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!

There were so many excellent questions during the Q&A portion of the webinar that we couldn’t even get to them all. So, we decided to bring them together here in a three-part series of bite-sized highlights for you to enjoy.

We also followed up with Dr. Koehler to get his take on any questions we might have missed during the webinar.


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.

Consumers & Marketing

If consumers are self-educating more than before, how should we refocus marketing resources?

Senter: People get very caught up with brands, but people have a stronger influence on them. I think that right now, a really important part of this is getting in and working with influencers. Having done a lot of work with influencers, I know that it can be very expensive.

But if you start to look more at micro-influencers with a strong base in your segment, you can be more targeted, and it can really save you money.


Butler: To add to this, it really depends on your product’s target market. If your target market is the older generation, they’re not looking on social media for their educational pieces. So, you have to be sure about who you’re targeting.

I think another key is leveraging the stage that they’re at.

How far along is the education journey? If it’s still at the early stage and not many people are buying into the product yet, you might have to take a different approach.

Dr. Koehler: I agree with both of you. It’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution. Also, looking at factors like data and research can add a lot of credibility to your product proposition. So, if you can get the endorsements of industry associations and other credible professional groups, that can be extremely powerful.

Are Zoomers looking for a shortened ingredient list of these products? Is there skepticism around these ingredients or claims? How can a brand navigate this?

Dr. Koehler: Naturally, the more familiar consumers are with functional ingredients, the more accepting they are and the more they believe in their functionality. So, of course, the newer or more innovative your ingredient is, the more education is necessary. It needs to be clear what consumer problem you are solving with this ingredient.

You must ensure that you have the necessary regulatory approvals, strong science, and credible data to support your value proposition.


Now, do consumers always read labels? Probably not. But it’s important to make sure that they are clear and well understood and that there is no overconsumption, which can lead to different issues.

Also, the newer your value proposition is, the more you need to invest into marketing efforts that build consumer understanding.

Based on what consumers are telling us, companies that are focused on sustainability only help elevate the brand. Do you agree that this is a competitive edge that will only continue to be important?

Dr. Koehler: The simple answer is yes.


But it will not only continue to be necessary; as we move forward, it will continue to increase in importance.

As your target consumers become more concerned, you will have to ensure that you can market, share, and convey your work in a way that connects with and resonates with them.

Not to be overly dramatic, but it is essential for both consumers and the planet that this remains top of mind.

Please elaborate a little more on the consumer decision tree. Where do taste/function, price, and portability rank?

Butler: It all depends on when and why they make their first purchase. I really think you’re going to have to attract them with the trifecta of function, price, and portability.

I hate to say it, but they want everything.

It may sound biased as a flavor company to say that taste is the key, but it truly is. While it’s important to get that first purchase, great taste is how you retain your consumer beyond that.

Another thing to note is that consumers don’t always answer surveys as truthfully as you’d like to think they do. They might tell you one thing but then behave very differently when the situation changes.

Senter: That’s right; it definitely depends on the segment. We have to think about how we present that to the market because it will strongly affect how you position it for that consumer and what is important to them.

Dr. Koehler: We always say that taste is king, but that still has to be plugged into your individual value matrix for your consumer.

When we combine functionality, taste, etc., what value is reached for your specific consumers?

Some may be more concerned with taste and price, and others might be more concerned with functionality and quality of ingredients.


The only way to know is to look at the data from your specific consumers. 

Only you can figure that out. But when you do, we can help you achieve that, especially on the taste and cost side.

Hungry for more? Click the links below to check out Parts 2 & 3


 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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