Martin Pasco
Martin Pasco is a Mintel Food & Drink Senior Global Analyst, monitoring and engaging with the latest innovations and market developments in Spirits and Wines, and some food categories.

The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a huge rise in health consciousness and people’s anxiety levels have soared. This, combined with concerns about money, presents drinks brands with a real opportunity to step in and help out.

The recent pandemic has eroded consumer confidence with people now forced to tighten their budgets. And while health and wellbeing were already trending pre-lockdown, they have now become an even bigger priority given the threat of infection and the general stresses of lockdown lifestyles.

Tap into health-boosting needs for families

These changes mean people have a new set of needs. They are increasingly looking for health-boosting and economising options. Drinks brands need to tap into this by offering larger value formats and dialing up health benefits worth paying more for. Parents, in particular, will be keen to find ways to boost their family’s health on a budget; drinks with added vitamin C and D or juices, for example, could prove to be an ideal place to start.

Following the 2008-2009 recession, Innocent launched its Strawberries & Banana Smoothie Value pack in a 1.25L pack – this is exactly the kind of product that would work again now.

Source: Mintel GNPD

Agith Al Ain Plus Water launched in the United Arab Emirates and has added vitamin D and addresses a lack of daylight exposure for home-bound workers. It comes in a 12 x 500ml pack for value.

Source: Mintel GNPD

But this is not just about physical health. Brands need to look at offering drinks to help people tackle the mental challenges they have to deal with during lockdown, whether they are stressed frontline healthcare workers facing daily personal risk or tired working parents juggling child care and homeschooling with Zoom meetings. Drinks that can offer calming properties or help with concentration will go some way to help manage these detrimental effects.

Meda’s Espresso + Vanilla Flavour Focus Drink launched in the UK and is a honey sweetened coffee-based botanical drink with rosemary to help enhance memory and concentration, ginseng to aid cognitive performance and for anti-fatigue effect, espresso coffee which is a natural source of caffeine.

Source: Mintel GNPD

A route to the calm zone for Gen Z

Generation Z consumers (born 1995-2007) are also a key target here. These young adults faced huge anxiety even before the restrictions of a COVID-19-driven recession, with the use of smartphones and social media believed to be the main contributors here. But the constraints of lockdown have intensified anxieties and brands need to offer beverages with calm and mental wellbeing benefits.

Recess Pom Hibiscus Sparkling Water is one such product doing just that. Launched in the US, this sparkling water is infused with hemp extract and adaptogens. It is said to help with balance and clarity, and to be calm, cool and collected.

Source: Mintel GNPD

A feel-good beauty boost for working parents

Brands interested in slightly more niche trends should offer a taste of the rejuvenating properties of a mini spa break – perhaps a beverage that will help skin glow again.

Products like Spain’s Beauty & Go Skin Brilliance Bioactive Beauty Drink enriched with MacroAxioxidents, collagen and hyaluronic acid are spot on.

Source: Mintel GNPD

There is no doubt that an indoor life, childcare responsibilities and a lack of sleep will have taken its toll on stressed parents’ skin. Drinks that promise to enhance the appearance of the skin will offer both a physical and an emotional restorative feel-good benefit. And let’s be honest, we could all do with a bit of that right now!