Julia Buech
Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst, specialising in delivering insights on issues affecting the German market, providing analysis across a range of categories.

There have been seismic changes since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020. Yet, not all of those changes are negative. In fact, some trends have seen a stronger boost as a result of the pandemic and the recurrent social restrictions across Europe. Here, Global Food and Drink Analyst, Julia Büch, sheds a light on some of the exciting drink trends she has observed and elaborates which trends we’re raising our glasses to in 2022.  

Health-boosting drinks

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, consumers have placed more priority on their health – spurring the demand for products supporting the immune system. Across Europe, over half of consumers claim they started taking more immune-boosting vitamins and minerals such as zinc or Vitamin C as a result of the pandemic.

This, in turn, has had a big impact on the drinks industry: never before has the category seen so many product innovations claiming to strengthen the immune system. Category leaders are juices and teas, including those containing a high level of Vitamin C. 

In this context, botanical ingredients offering natural functional benefits, such as herbs and spices, are also on the rise. German consumers are convinced of the power of plants, with six in 10 German consumers saying they believe in the medicinal effect of botanicals such as ginger or turmeric. 

Another big trend Mintel observes in the drinks space are fermented beverages, such as kombucha and water kefir. Naturally low in sugar and rich in probiotics, they are said to be good for the gut microbiome and general health. These naturally fizzy drinks are particularly interesting for those looking for healthier, ‘better-for-you’ sodas with interesting taste profiles. 

 

Image source: Mintel GNPD

Purearth Organic Sparkling Hibiscus + Lime Water Kefir (UK) is a raw, unpasteurised and fermented drink brimming with 27 billion live cultures and enzymes, amino acids and nutrients that are said to be good for gut health. According to the manufacturer, the product is a great source of vitamin B2 and vitamin B12, both supporting the normal function of the immune system and contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

Hybrid drinks create new taste experiences

Equally in demand are special taste experiences. In Germany, over half of consumers say they are actively looking for new taste experiences, fuelling the trend towards new beverage hybrids. A notable highlight emerging from the bar scene is Espressotini, a cocktail mix of espresso and vodka that is served in a martini glass. 

Image source: absolutdrinks.com

Espressotini is a cocktail consisting of espresso, kahlúa and vodka.

Another hyped drink is Proffee: consisting of coffee and protein shake, it’s particularly popular among young ‘gymfluencers’.

Alongside coffee, tea offers vast possibilities to create interesting taste experiences. While matcha, Oolong, Earl Grey and the like offer interesting taste profiles for cocktails, undiscovered botanicals from other markets can add a surprising element in terms of taste and/or optics. As seen on social media, Butterfly Pea Tea is slowly making its way into the Western world. Once brewed up with hot water and combined with lemon juice, the butterfly pea tea, which originates from Southeast Asia, changes its colour from a  fascinating deep, royal blue into a vibrating violet.

Image source: iStock

Blue Butterfly Pea Tea originates from Asia and is said to have antioxidant properties.


With many adults reducing or completely forgoing alcohol consumption, the expectations towards non-alcoholic drinks are growing. Consumers today are looking for drinks that are less sweet in taste and contain high-quality ingredients – preferably with functional benefits. 

Barista and health trends conquer the hot drinks category

Over the course of the pandemic, the home has become the centre of life, including work and relaxation. As a result, consumers are increasingly looking for rituals combining experience with indulgence and comfort. With many restaurants and cafés closed during the periods of lockdowns, the ‘traditional café experience’ more or less vanished during that time. Subsequently, the coffee preparation at home has transformed into something special, leading many to try out barista-style coffee at home.

Brewing up from social media, Dalgona Coffee has been ‘the’ coffee trend on social media for the past 1.5 years. While the drink originates from South Korea, it has quickly turned into a worldwide social media phenomenon. Made with equal amounts of instant coffee, sugar and hot water under constant stirring, Dalgona Coffee is best described as coffee cream that’s added as a topping to a glass of milk. Thanks to the ease of its preparation and its visual appeal, Dalgona Coffee quickly became the perfect drink for the age of Instagram and TikTok. Another bonus: it can be drunk hot or cold, no matter the season.  

With regard to social media, visual aesthetics become increasingly more important. This is particularly true for indulgent drinks, to which most hot drinks belong. As a result, colourful creations such as red beet latte, moon or golden milk with ashwagandha or curcumin have also seen increasing popularity on social platforms. Alongside their visual appeal, those drinks often also feature botanicals promising additional health benefits.

Image source: iStock

Moon milk is an ayurvedic drink said to possess sleep-promoting properties. It is made with plant or dairy milk and contains different herbs and spices, such as Blue Pea Tea or turmeric, which can create surprising colour effects. Its main ingredient is ashwagandha, an adaptogenic ingredient said to have relaxing benefits.

What’s next? 

Mintel expects that the trends towards indulgence, health and sustainability will continue to merge with each other. Adding to the health aspect, mental wellbeing is moving more and more into the spotlight. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, stress levels have been rising, with many consumers looking for ways to find moments of relaxation and comfort. 

This creates new opportunities for beverages that support stress reduction and relaxation. In the States, PepsiCo has launched Soulboost, a new drink with L-Theanine, an ingredient that is said to offer relaxing benefits. Mintel expects that products with potentially stress-reducing ingredients will see further growth in the near future.