Why Functional Drinks are Taking the RTD Beverage Industry by Storm

Why Functional Drinks are Taking the RTD Beverage Industry by Storm

These days, mouth-watering taste won’t be what separates your RTD beverage from the pack. The “functionality effect” spans across all RTD beverage categories, from soda and tea to sparkling energy drinks and more. Heck, even alcohol companies are yelling “FUNCTIONAL OR BUST!”

Essential Takeaways
  • Today’s consumers care deeply about what they’re putting in their bodies.
  • Your next RTD beverage shouldn't have to sacrifice taste for function, find out how!    

The fact is, today’s consumers care deeply about what they’re putting in their bodies. They’re avoiding sugar and artificial coloring like the plague and are flocking to ingredients like CBD, vitamins, antioxidants, and electrolytes like it’s nobody’s business. Find out how your next RTD beverage can add function without sacraficing taste.

NEWS FLASH: Your Competitors are Already Putting Functionality First

A boat-load of brands have already hopped on the booming trend, and there’s been an explosion of “fusion” beverages with health-related functional benefits. BevCanna, for example, just released their Grüv Beverages line of cannabis-infused iced teas in ginger mint and matcha green tea. But it isn’t just cannabis that’s going functional...

Vital Proteins is diving in headfirst too—the Chicago-based company released their collagen water in early 2019 with five flavors: original, strawberry-lemon, lemon-ginger, blackberry hibiscus, and blueberry mint. Each one is made without artificial sweeteners or added sugar.  

Even the big dogs are going all-in on functional health... Coca-Cola just launched its first energy drink with naturally-derived caffeine, guarana extracts, and B vitamins. Traditionally, energy drinks are known for their cheesy branding and low-quality ingredients, but as consumers become more health-conscious, the category is being forced to redefine itself.

The bottom line is, packaging pops and taste tingles, but functionality is what matters most these days.

Where Health Meets Convenience

Functionality isn’t just about health—it’s also about convenience. Today’s consumers are busy, driven, and thirsty. They also have high expectations when it comes to ingredients and aren’t willing to sacrifice their health just because they’re in a hurry.

Functional ready-to-drink beverages are the perfect solution, and millennial-aged consumers are a primary target. If you can grab their attention with attractive packaging and exciting brand stories, you’ll have them drinking out the palm of your hand. Your RTD beverage can be a convenient way for them to achieve a healthier lifestyle.

Even Alcohol Companies Are Jumping on the Functionality Bandwagon

As consumers become more health-conscious, they’re starting to drink less booze. Although the global alcohol RTD industry still has a projected growth rate of 3.32% from 2019-2027, overall alcohol consumption fell by roughly 1.5% last year. As a result, alcohol companies are having to get creative...and functional.

They’re providing healthier options with lower alcohol, fewer calories, and smaller volumes to help people cut down on the amount of alcohol they consume. For example, the London start-up Nice launched 250ml slimline cans, which are 100% recyclable. Other companies are taking healthy alcohol to a whole new level by adding electrolytes to their beer. Yep, you heard right...beer that hydrates you.

In May 2019, WellBeing Brewing Co. partnered with Buoy Hydration to launch the healthiest beer in the world: WellBeing Victory Citrus Wheat + Electrolytes. This nonalcoholic beer contains energizing vitamins, anti-inflammatory antioxidants, and more electrolytes than Gatorade! When Victory Citrus Wheat was first released, Total Wine immediately bought the entire inventory. They’ve since sold out multiple times and have seen additional profits of $0.91 per can after innovating with Buoy.  

The best part is, Buoy’s electrolytes can be added to literally any product without changing the taste. Is your RTD beverage ready to put functionality first? Learn more about Buoy’s product collaboration program.



Electrolytes, Functionality, Functional beverages, Hydration


  1. https://www.foodbev.com/news/bevcanna/
  2. https://www.theiwsr.com/news-and-comment-worldwide-alcohol-consumption-declines/
  3. https://shop.wellbeingbrewing.com/products/wellbeing-victory-wheat?variant=19824604282953

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