Whilst the last few years' beverage trends have been characterized by a celebration of the end of the global pandemic, a growing interest in the sober-curious movement, and retro throw-backs giving us comfort and joy, this year follows a similar trajectory but leans even further into the themes of drinks for wellness and for ultimate pleasure. Beverage trends in 2024 are largely characterized by consumers becoming evermore conscious about how the products we consume affect our health and how our consumption affects our planet’s well-being. Let's get the low-down on what you've got to try in 2024.
EHL's selection of the top beverage trends in 2024
The megatrends for 2024 will center around healthier and ‘cleaner’, more sustainable, premium, and socially responsible products in line with the mantras – good for me, good for the planet – and quality over quantity.
With movements like mindful drinking and “sober curious” gaining popularity, research indicates that alcohol consumption has declined with younger generations drinking less as they show greater interest in holistic wellness and health. The beverage industry has been paying attention to these shifts in concern, consciousness, and habits.
Functional and healthy beverages are on the rise. Zero and low alcohol ready-to-drink offerings (the NOLO movement) from North America to Europe and Asia-Pacific have boomed. But globally, we’re seeing an array of interesting new product developments, packaging innovations, and surprising mergers and acquisitions with the lines between the health movement, the low- and no- alcoholic category and the wider drinks industry becoming increasingly converged as they pivot to growing consumer demand.
Here we take a deeper dive into 10 drink trends we expect to see in 2024.
1. Functional Health Drinks
Functional drinks are trending, with consumers seeking herbal ingredients, plant-based formulas, and natural caffeine, and added health supplements such as collagen.
According to Flavorman an authority on beverage flavoring, herbal ingredients like ginseng, ginger, and pepper flavors are popular in functional drinks because they are believed to have health benefits, such as strengthening the immune system, boosting cognitive energy, and providing pain relief.
Functional drinks are also shifting towards plant-based formulas, with 71% of global consumers seeking out functional and multi-tasking drinks with plant-based ingredients. The annual growth of plant-based beverages will become more prevalent between 2020 and 2027, growing at a (CAGR) rate of 11.9%.
This is likely due to the growing popularity of plant-based diets and the perceived health benefits of plant-based foods.
Some popular examples of functional drinks with plant-based ingredients include plant-based milk, meal supplements, fruit juices, and energy drinks with natural caffeine from yerba mate, green tea, coffee, guarana, and ginseng.
While sweeter beverages are still popular, more consumers are seeking ways to improve their daily health and consumption, which is driving the trend towards functional drinks with herbal ingredients, plant-based formulas, and natural caffeine.
2. CBD-infused relaxation drinks
Only a year or so ago this trend could only be found on the cocktail menus of the most avant-garde venues, but CBD-infused beverages are now a mainstream tipple in 2024, for both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic markets.
CBD drinks, whilst they don't get you high, have been proven to offer other health benefits due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Other reported benefits are that cannabis-infused drinks support mood regulation and memory. Why not try Vita Coca's CBD-infused Cola, or the CBD Infused Strawberry Gin by Aqua Sativa, or the calming CBD-infused flavored water from TRIP?
3. Bubble tea craze is staying
Bubble tea has been having its moment for quite some time now; what seemed like a craze looks set to stay a favorite among Gen-Z in 2024. Despite being invented in the 1980s, the demand for bubble tea is going global with its market expected to grow by almost $2 billion to reach $4.3 billion by 2027.
The refreshing Taiwanese tea-based drink features tapioca or fruit jelly bubbles. It appeals to health-conscious individuals enjoying the healthier variants low in sugar, with organic soya milk, green tea, or fruity mixes, as well as the younger generation seduced by its 200 or so different flavor combinations and even more customizable options making for truly unique, tasty and fun drink.
4. Coffee: from TikTok #saltcoffee trend, and viral Starbucks orders, to Ready-to-Drinks
Coffee is in in a BIG way in 2024. It never really went anywhere but lately, it's hard to ignore the renewed hype around a decent cup of Joe.
The ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee and tea market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, reaching $133 billion by 2027. This is due in part to the increasing popularity of coffee and tea among consumers, as well as the growing demand for convenient and healthy beverage options.
One of the key trends driving the growth of the RTD coffee and tea market is the rise in health awareness. Consumers are increasingly looking for beverages that are low in sugar and calories, and many RTD coffee and tea products now offer these options. Additionally, many RTD coffee and tea products are now made with organic and sustainable ingredients, which is appealing to many consumers.
Another day and another TikTok trend is taking over the world. in 2023 there was a viral trend of adding a tiny amount of salt to your morning brew. The salt takes away the bitterness of coffee that many find offputting and adds a subtle and next-to-no-calorie sweetness.
Ever felt the second-hand embarrassment of someone ordering an overly complicated drink in Starbucks? Well in 2024 that might be about to get a lot worse... Social media is awash with personalized Starbucks orders which create exciting off-menu drinks. I'll take a venti cold brew, with one pump of vanilla syrup, one pump of caramel syrup, a splash of pouring cream, vanilla sweet cold foam, and caramel crunch topping please...
5. Fermented drinks as a health-booster
Increased awareness of the importance of fuelling our body with quality and nutritious food and drink is driving rapid growth in fermented beverages, occupying a significant portion within the functional and healthy drinks category. The growing body of research backing up the benefits of prioritizing gut health and diversity in the microbiome, (the collective name for the microorganisms that live in the digestive tract), is driving this drink trend.
It’s estimated that in 2015, the fermented beverage industry was worth $747.55 billion. In 2023, the market is expected to hit $1,061.5 billion (5% CAGR). While kombucha has been topping the leaderboard for some years, it’s now got some serious competition.
Water kefir, with its more diverse probiotic strains shown to help boost the immune system and aid digestion, is gaining momentum and creeping into the mainstream. As is the fermented Mexican soda Tepache – another healthy, flavorsome, sustainable alternative to kombucha. While not new in itself, it has promising prospects in this health-conscious era, but hey, it’s just a gut feeling!
6. Drinks with star power
Celebrity beverage endorsements are nothing new. Think George Clooney and Nespresso, Jennifer Aniston and Smart Water, or countless sporting stars endorsing energy drinks. Expect to see more and more vineyards and champagne houses partnering with big names to capitalize on their glamorous images and extend their respective brand portfolios.
John Legend, Kylie Minogue, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and Kendall Jenner have all ventured into the wine and spirits business.
Such partnerships are also strategic in helping introduce beverages to new consumers, in particular millennial drinkers drawn to celebrity and wellness lifestyles, and who aren’t impartial to the Instagrammable aesthetic of certain fashionable drinks.
In the realm of non-alcoholic drinks, this star-studded trend has also taken off. YouTube stars KSI and Logan Paul have collaborated to create Prime Hydration, an energy drink that comes in seven brightly colored flavors containing BCAAs, vitamins, electrolytes, and antioxidants, and has caused quite a stir since its launch in 2022. Initially the the viral drink was so popular supermarkets were struggling to keep up with demand, with customers reportedly queuing up outside stores before they open to get their hands on it. Now demand has settled but it's still a very popular drink among kids and teens.
7. Sustainably packaged beverages
Co-packing companies are slowly but steadily switching to environmentally safer packing materials. This is being driven by the growing eco-consciousness of the Gen Z demographic, as well as awareness campaigns about the harmful effects of plastic on the environment.
Another trend is the emergence of alternative forms of co-packing, such as using recycled materials or biodegradable materials. These alternatives are becoming more popular as customers and retailers become more ecologically conscious.
Another sub-trend within the packaging world is boxed wine. It's easier to store, preserves open wine very well, and is proving a more hygienic and sustainable option, in particular for restaurants. With each three-litre box generating about half the carbon dioxide emissions that of a glass bottle, boxed wine is also cheaper to transport, and stock and is more environmentally-friendly. Something that even the more premium wine houses can’t ignore.
According to Future Market Insights’ latest industry analysis, sales of boxed wine packaging are expected to grow 1.7 times between 2023 and 2033. And in 2023, it is anticipated that the global “bag-in-box market” will be worth US$ 3.5 billion.
While wine connoisseurs may jump to the conclusion that boxed wine equates to poor quality, industry experts are suggesting that that’s changing, and fast, as sales are forecast to continue surging around the world in 2024.
8. Canned cocktails with premium products
While some may have enjoyed following online mixology tutorials to create their homemade cocktails, many long for the days when original creations are served ready-made for immediate consumption.
Well, spirit brands and hotel chains like the Marriott have wasted no time in offering the perfect solution and creating a variety of delicious, bartender-quality, ready-to-drink cocktails in cans. Tipped to be the hottest trend in the alcoholic beverage space, the development of prepared cocktails-to-go is, according to Grand View Research, estimated at USD 853.2 million in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.0% from 2023 to 2030.
With high-quality ingredients, authentic flavors, options between low-calorie, sugar, low-alcohol, or premium spirits, and convenient recyclable packaging, grab-and-go cocktails are here to stay.
9. Retro Cocktails
Classic cocktail recipes seem to be having somewhat of a revival, with their quirky names and familiar, feel-good taste, it's just what the doctor ordered to perk us up. Something to remind us of days gone by, the Harvey Hallbanger, Salty Dog, and White Russian have all made a comeback.
Whilst Google Trends shows a 200% increase in search interest for the Pornstar Martini, a staple for many girls' nights looks set to surge in popularity, what's more, we saw a 60% rise in search interest for martinis in general. Did Martinis ever really go out of fashion? No, but there has been a notable uptick in drinks menus dedicated to the glamorous tipple. Will you have yours "shaken, not stirred?"
10. Spiked sodas and alcohol-free beers and spirits
With interest in low and no-alcohol-by-volume (ABV) drinks skyrocketing over the last few years, more and more people are looking for a middle ground between tee-total and drinker, between functional and indulgent, and between high-quality and convenience.
Consequently, low and non-alcoholic beverages are flooding the market and are the space to watch. From non-alcoholic beers and premium mocktails by spirit brands to the boom of hard seltzers now spilling over into hard coffees and kombucha – consumers are going to be spoilt for choice. Whether it’s wanting something with less sugar and alcohol, with premium products, looking for a slight ‘kick’ in traditional non-alcoholic beverages, or an alternative to beer, this growing category ensures there’s something for every taste bud and type of drinker.
Drink trends 2024: A toast to good health
As we raise our glasses to a new year ahead, bars, pubs, and restaurants are still grappling with economic uncertainties, supply-chain bottlenecks, and staffing issues. While there is still so much uncertainty, what is clear is that the increasing consumer interest in health, wellness, and mindfulness is shaping the beverage industry as a whole as it seeks to quench this thirst for holistic balance.
For being able to choose alcohol-free beverages without having to sacrifice flavors, fizz, or authenticity. For indulging in a drink without having to abstain completely. For a return to more simplicity with natural and ‘clean’ products. For drinking less in quantity but better in quality. Cheers to that!