Because of recent saturation of the bottled water market, functional and flavored waters are seeing increased popularity. Flavored waters are waters that have had natural and/or artificial flavors added in order to enhance the taste of the water. Functional waters maybe flavored as well but also include vitamins, minerals, or infusions that are meant to provide increased health benefits to the consumer.
Pushing the Boundaries of Water
There’s almost infinite room for expansion and invention within the functional beverage industry at the moment, and functional drinking waters are poised to increase in popularity over the next several years. With the addition of ingredients like collagen (for skin health), protein (for muscle development), and probiotics (capitalizing on the recent gut-health and fermentation trend), ordinary drinking water can be elevated to the status of health drink, beyond the usual benefit of hydration. The chemical makeup of water can even be altered to increase health benefits, such as the addition of more oxygen to increase energy, or more hydrogen to ease inflammation.
Formulation, Ingredients and Packaging
While some ingredients used in flavored and functional water are familiar and easy to work with, such as fruit juices, aloe, and coconut water, more novel ingredients may require more trial and error in order to perfect the flavor and solubility. Some spices and minerals may pose a challenge without a strongly flavored base to mask their natural flavor. Sustainable packaging is also an important point for many consumers, with many pushing for less waste than traditional bottled water packaging.
The Future of Functional Water
The convenience of bottled water, the shift towards lower sugar and caffeine consumption, and a currently health-crazed consumer base makes this an optimal time for growth in the functional beverage and water industry. With a focus on unique and delicious flavors, marketing that hones in on health benefits, and innovation in ingredients and benefits, functional and flavored waters are set to continue to see growth in the years to come.