Beverage Manufacturers Use Reformulation and Labeling to Align with Consumer Trend

Health-conscious consumers are looking for better-for-you food and beverage options and are willing to spend more to get them. Manufacturers are meeting this demand with cleaner formulations and clearer labeling.

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Eighty percent of consumers are focusing specifically on what they eat and drink to take better care of themselves, 74% have expressed a desire to actively limit their sugar intake, and 54% stated they are willing to spend more on beverages that will contribute to improving their overall health and well-being. Carbonated soft drinks, one of the most sugar-rich beverage offerings, posted negative growth (-0.8%) for the first time ever in 2017.

According to PMMI Business Intelligence’s new report “2021 Beverage Trends Driving Change,” beverage manufacturers have been reformulating even successful offerings into new health-conscious varieties by adjusting ingredient formulations. 83% of manufacturers interviewed stated they are actively altering ingredients specifically to meet consumer health demands.

Ingredient changes often alter the basic characteristics of the product, and may necessitate new considerations to packaging format, material, and composition, to preserve the integrity of the product. This is particularly true for alterations to old favorites, which require beverage producers to adhere as closely as possible to the original flavor and texture profile. In addition to packaging changes, new ingredients may also require tolerance and temperature modifications on filling machines, which can sometimes require entirely new machine purchases or technical upgrades to existing lines. “Moving away from corn syrup for a new product introduction required us to commission more advanced processing equipment,” said one process and automation engineer.


   Watch this video on post-COVID consumer trends.

Clean and Clear Labeling

To effectively communicate new formulation health advantages to consumers, beverage manufacturers are turning to clean and clear labeling. Consumers are paying more attention to labels, and 61% say that claims of being free from artificial sweeteners is an extremely important statement they look for on labels, while 30% will pay more for beverages advertising such a claim.

Fifty-five percent of beverage shoppers say they carefully review added sugar content in their products, and 57% say they specifically look at what type of sweetener is being used when making a beverage purchase.

With this in mind, it is important for beverage manufacturers to have clear, concise, and readily visible information on their labels, especially when it comes to ingredients used to achieve a desired flavor profile. “We are focusing on a clean label, reducing the number of ingredients by half,” said one private label packaging engineer.

Smart packaging, such as RFID, NFC, and QR codes, to give customers access to detailed information about the products they are buying is also on the rise, with 33% of beverage manufacturers interviewed stated they are actively exploring smarter packaging solutions. One packaging engineer confirmed, “We are engaging the consumer more often now with QR codes, loyalty programs, and limited-edition gift packs.”

One cutting edge solution - using augmented reality (AR) to give consumers easy access to expanded label information, has experienced significant growth, particularly among Millennials. Millennial interest in AR labeling has driven 120% growth in the technology for beverage packaging in just two years. “Smart packaging has become a product differentiator in communicating our sustainability goals to our consumers,” said another private label packaging engineer.

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Source: PMMI Business Intelligence, “2021 Beverage Trends Driving Change”


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