Consumers THIRSTY for excitement - Innovations in flavoured water

4 January 2024 Market trends

Flavoured water has been a category present on the market for many years. Customers are reaching for it more eagerly, but they also have higher expectations. In the coming years, flavoured water will face many challenges. Consumers are increasingly aware of the role of optimal hydration. They seek solutions that guarantee better absorption of consumed fluids and are additionally fortified with vitamins and minerals. And it's not about isotonic drinks, which are perceived as solutions dedicated to active athletes. Consumers would like to buy water enriched with additives that support their health and hydration levels. Such water require the right flavour because they have a less attractive taste of electrolytes on their own. Attempts to introduce naturally flavoured fortified water, despite initial customer enthusiasm, quickly ended with pushing the product into a small market niche.

Functional flavoured water fulfill various, often opposing roles. Customers choose it depending on the time of day or specific requirements posed by their daily lives. There appear on the market water that guarantee optimal hydration level, water with caffeine increasing energy levels, water with CBD for relaxation, water with magnesium increasing stress resistance, water with lemon and watermelon - with potassium protecting against muscle cramps, or water with folic acid for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Market diversification and a more precise understanding of the specific needs of different customer groups result in the creation of functional products, which should clearly and unequivocally communicate their advantages on the label. Plain flavoured water becomes less attractive on the modern market.
Currently, the most popular flavour in water is lemon with ginger and a significantly reduced sugar content. Also popular there are yuzu, grapefruit, plum, or aloe flavours. Water as a natural and healthy product balances on a very thin line of customer acceptance.  Because of the additives it is enriched with and their perception as desired or rejected.
Sugar and all artificial sweeteners, despite their low calorie content, are definitely additives that are reluctantly associated with flavored water. Young consumers from Generation Z are increasingly open to savory tastes: salty, sour, or bitter. The sweet taste is perceived as unhealthy and unfashionable.

This trend is becoming so pronounced that it can already be seen in the category of fruit juices, which are diluted with water by many manufacturers. The high natural sugar content in juice becomes a problem for consumers. Moreover, the flavoured water category cannot afford to improve the taste with additional added sugar.
The aroma in flavoured water serves a dual role. Firstly, it enhances the taste, and secondly,  masks the disliked aftertastes of functional additives. At the same time, it should not sweeten the taste and remain as natural as possible. It is not an easy task for flavour creators and aroma producers. Flavours Factory specializes in challenging endeavors. Check out our offer directed to flavored water manufacturers.