New Beverage Research Identifies Growth Opportunities Across Beverage Occasions

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Kerry’s latest study uncovers European consumer needs and preferences throughout the day, informing non-alcoholic beverage innovations and product development

KerryDigest Fast Facts:
  • Kerry’s market research and consumer connections team recently researched the non-alcoholic beverage consumption patterns of consumers in Europe.
  • Amongst the findings: although 50% of European consumers have 5 or more beverages a day, many are looking for choices that better suit the time of day or their taste, nutrition and convenience needs.
  • By discovering the compromises or tradeoffs consumers make when selecting a beverage, the industry can create better beverage innovations that meet consumers’ emotional, nutritional and sensory needs across different beverage occasions.
  • This article gives an overview of Kerry's beverage research, including suggestions of the beverage occasions most in need of new products.  
KerryDigest Full Scoop:

At the end of 2017, our market research and consumer connections team launched a new approach to consumer segmentation called “ConsumerFirst”. In 2018, they delved deeper into the beverage category by studying 29,000 unique consumption occasions.


Amongst our beverage research insights:
  • Like food choices, beverage selection often moves along a “Purity Curve” with choices moving from healthy to indulgent over the course of a day and week.
  • Consumers are driven by fast, easy and mobile lifestyle where all food and drink is available at an instant. Their choices are influenced by not only taste or nutritional needs but also time of day and location.
  • New beverage innovations must satisfy the emotional and functional needs of consumers as well as the sensorial cues that trigger different products for different occasions, such as morning or evening consumption.
  • There is a gap between desire and choice and consumers often make unconscious compromises in their current choices. For example, many people drink soft drinks in the evening but would prefer a more soothing and relaxing option that is also non-alcoholic.

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Insights from the Beverage Occasions Research

Working with consumers in UK, Ireland and Germany, we studied 29,000 unique beverage occasions across 23 non-alcoholic drink categories. To give us the full picture of their selection process, we asked these consumers to record their emotional, functional and sensory needs in a diary. The feedback was deep and illuminating. They recorded specific details such as whether their choices were hot or cold and why, if they were looking for an energy hit of a moment to relax as well as whether they were feeling bored, tired or social. This allowed us to understand how to satisfy their unmet needs at a holistic level.


We found that European adults make multiple beverages choices throughout the day:
  • 50% of European consumers have 5 or more non-alcoholic drink occasions each day
  • 24% have 7 non-alcoholic drink occasions each day
  • On average, European consumers choose from 3 different beverage categories each day
  • Nearly 50% of consumers are looking to satisfy 4 or more functional needs each day

Like the food choices we studied during our ConsumerFirst research, we found that beverage behaviour can be best be segmented by occasion, since need states change over time.

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Innovating for A Key Beverage Occasion

One area of focus for we identified was a beverage occasion we termed “Responsible Performance”. When consumers experienced this particular need state, they made more conscious choices that focused on functional food benefits, positive nutrition and sustainable drivers. Product attributes and claims included organic, free-from, sourcing and provenance with an emphasis on gut health, clean label, fibre and digestive health.

Market predictions tell us that sales for drinks with positive nutritional benefits are likely to rise by 18% between 2017 and 2022 across Europe. Our research found that consumers are looking for more transparent function benefits, they are choosing from a diverse set of beverages with varied sensory attributes including healthier fruit juices, functional smoothies, drinkable breakfast yogurts, plant-based refreshers and RTD teas and coffees.

Furthermore, we found that in the evening there are few products on the market in the Responsible Performance category, when people are looking for relaxation, comfort and rejuvenation. As a result, most people in this need state select between water, flavoured water and carbonated soft drinks, but it is not the perfect fit.

To create a new option for these consumers, our R&D team suggested a few recipes designed to appeal to people looking for Responsible Performance beverages in the evening. One to consider: a non-alcoholic style spirit made with botanical and fruit extracts such as rose, green tea, fennel, apple, lime and grapefruit.

Our beverage occasions research demonstrates the need for non-alcoholic beverages that go beyond the traditional offerings by joining together consumer, product and sensory insights. To learn more about this exciting beverage occasion research, and to speak with Kerry about our formula for developing winning product solutions in different occasions, contact us.


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