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INNOBEV GLOBAL SOFT DRINKS CONGRESS, LISBON, APRIL 7-9

Pimp my bespoke beverage ride! Milk, coffee, cocktail enhancers…

By Ben Bouckley+

08-Apr-2014
Last updated on 08-Apr-2014 at 08:34 GMT

Pimp my bespoke beverage ride! Milk, coffee, cocktail enhancers…

Flavor ‘enhancers’ have already spread beyond water to milk and have potential to conquer categories such as coffee and cocktails, according to Zenith International.

Introducing the 10th Innobev Global Soft Drinks Congress in Lisbon yesterdaay, Richard Hall, chair of show organizer, Zenith International, addressed his industry audience on the subject.

“Enhancers are spreading into Europe today, and I think they’ll go beyond liquid water enhancers to milk and to other products,” Hall said.

He refered to North Carolina-based S&D Innovations’ US launch of its MilkSplash ‘milk enhancer’ in Target and Wall-Mart from April, where this brand claims to offers a clear alternative to syrups or powders by creating a new kids’ category that encourages youngsters to drink milk.

MilkSplash claims it makes milk more attractive to kids

MilkSplash flavors include Orange Cream Dream, Cookies ‘N’ Cream and Jammin’ Banana. Maya Zuniga, director of product innovation at S&D insists research shows 7/10 kids will drink more milk when it’s flavored, and says the enhancers can help arrest a worrying consumption slide in the States.

Talking more broadly about ‘enhancers’ as a beverage category, Hall namechecked Kraft’s Mio brand, as the most successful instance in the States.

“In North America that market was worth $400m+ last year. What’s happening is that this is coming into Europe this year,” he said.

“We thought that there was opportunity for coffee, for cocktail, for dairy, maybe even yogurt or one or two other things, where you can add extra flavor to something that’s a more standard product,” Hall added.

“MilkSplash – I wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t one or two more dairy enhancers coming. But the big number of launches is probably liquid water enhancers in Europe this year. There are more than two already in the UK [including Vimto and Robinson’s],” Hall said.

Soda slowdown will continue

Touching on prospects for other categories,  Zenith’s chief. predicted a soda slowdown for 2003-18 - in developed markets such as the US at least - driven partly by consumer choice, but also by health concerns.

He added that the water upturn – especially in Asia, a region that is driving growth across numerous beverage categories – caters for the need for convenient hydration, while ‘fruit functionality’ means a trend towards lighter, more affordable drinks juice-based drinks.

“Finally, functionality has become more fulfilling, especially to meet the time-energy conundrum, but there are questions beyond as to what will succeed in functionality,” Hall said.

“And tea seems tempting, with green teas and variants of teas gaining recognition,” he added.

RTD coffee coup: Category ready for take off?

Interestingly, Hall questioned whether ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee – with global volumes of about 4bn liters – would grow that strongly across the balance of Zenith’s forecast period of 2003-18, with 34% growth predicted.

“There are some people who are suggesting that RTD coffee is about to take off. We’ve heard that quite a few times before and it’s quite possible that it may,” Hall said.

“But we think it’s a slightly steadier growth, and there are so many attractive coffee drink options in the hot category, and that seems to be where the attention mainly is,” he added.

I'll be reporting from the Global Soft Drinks Congress this week, so check back online for more stories and flashing updates via Twitter @benbouckley and @beveragedaily. The full event program is here .