Alternative sodas enter the mainstream

Bold flavor, health benefits among new soft drink attributes

New soft drinks that tout health benefits or functional ingredients — such as cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating ingredient derived from hemp — are among the new sodas to hit the shelves recently. Craft sodas, sometimes limited to regional markets and often including bold flavors, local ingredients and cane sugar, have been among the fastest-growing segments and have continued to roll out new flavors and varieties. Low- and no-sugar sodas have also continued to expand. “Growing production of craft sodas and investments in packaging and labeling technology are expected to heighten the demand for several types of crafted beverage products across the world,” Grand View Research said in a recent report. Consumer concerns around obesity and an ongoing shift toward natural and organic drinks are reshaping the global craft soda industry, the report said. Demand is increasing for craft sodas that contain natural sweeteners such stevia, agave nectar and honey. A recent report from Euromonitor International noted, however, that consumer health concerns “have extended to all corners of soft drinks, contributing to the decline of naturally and artificially sweetened beverages alike” as consumers increasingly reach for bottled waters and ready-to-drink teas instead.

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