Rushikesh Aravkar
Rushikesh is Mintel's Associate Director, Consumer Reports South APAC (India and Thailand), Food and Drink, based in Mumbai. Rushikesh is a packaging engineer, and prior to Mintel, he was an editor of a packaging magazine.

The beverage segment in India is a crowded space. Traditional segments such as carbonated soft drinks and juices and the newly emerging categories of flavoured water and flavoured milk products are all competing to meet consumers’ hydration and thirst-quenching needs.

While thirst-quenching and hydration will continue to be the primary consumption triggers, beverages have an opportunity to play a larger role in consumers’ daily food intake by contributing to a balanced diet with nutrient-rich offerings.

Moreover, the heightened sense of hygiene during the pandemic makes food safety a unique value proposition for packaged beverage brands. There exists an opportunity for brands to add value to their offerings and create meaningful differentiation by focusing on consumers’ health and nutrition needs.

Better-for-you is the way forward

Today’s hectic and stressful lifestyles are pushing Indian consumers to look for healthy and convenient food and drink products. For close to half of Indians, living a healthier life is a top goal over the next three years. 

Mintel Trend, ‘Help Me Help Myself’ highlights how consumers are learning new ways to nudge themselves towards better habits and healthful choices. 

However, many consumers find it difficult to know which drinks are more healthy, indicating a knowledge and awareness gap that brands can address. According to Mintel research, almost one-third of consumers say it is hard to know which beverages are healthy. Educating consumers and calling out ingredients on the pack and linking them to the health and functional benefits can help consumers make healthy choices. This will help brands in creating a point of differentiation in the market and help gain trust and long-term usage.

Tropicana Whole Fruit Apple Juice Drink, UK
This product features a blend of apple juice and apple pomace and is said to contain 100% fruit, high fibre and no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. It is described as a delicious drink with a thick and velvety-smooth texture and claims to provide the recommended five daily fruit and veg servings.

Vitness Tonics Beauty Vitamin Cucumber & Melon Drink, UK
The drink claims to revitalise the skin and energises the body with a natural blend of anti-ageing vitamins, collagen and bioactives, mixed with gently sparkling spring water and fruit. Blended with powerful antioxidants, including noni berry, goji berry and green tea, the gluten-free drink helps fight free radical damage and support healthy, youthful skin.

Targeting different day parts to drive consumption

Consumers seek different beverage attributes at different times of the day, depending on their need states. For example, Mintel research highlights that two in five Indians seek energising benefits to help them kickstart their day, while almost half of Indians seek beverages that are filling and provide satiety in the afternoon. In today’s busy lifestyles, beverages have an opportunity to cater to breakfast and meal occasions if they are able to help people achieve their health/nutrition goals, coupled with convenience.

In a bid to help consumers make beverage choices easier, brands can tailor beverages to suit the need states at specific day parts and drive purposeful consumption. This will help brands create differentiation and add value.

Little Lunch Organic Green Smoothie, Germany
The smoothie features a vegan and gluten-free recipe with apple, cucumber, spinach and wheatgrass. It contains no concentrates, added sugar, preservatives, flavour enhancers, or added colours and flavours. 

J-7 Poleznyy Zavtrak Apple and Oat Flakes Drink, Russia
This product is described as a tasty, smooth and healthy breakfast drink with pulp and is recommended for kids. This sterilised product contains 97% fruit and is described as a quick, easy snack that can help invigorate consumers in the morning. It is free from added sugar and contains dietary fibre, natural potassium and magnesium.