By Vikrant Lal, Development Manager, BevSource
Consumers are embracing the idea that beverages can deliver more than refreshment. According to a recent report by Fior Markets, the global functional beverages market is expected to grow from $125.39 billion in 2020 to reach $216.7 billion by 2029. Innovation is flooding the market as beverage makers appeal to consumers who are engaged in improving their health and wellness and are willing to pay for quality, customized beverages that help them reach their goals.
Beverage Formula Meets Function
Functional beverages now often include multiple ingredient combinations to address several wellness goals. From adding sources of protein to energy drinks and bottled water, to fortifying waters and juices with essential vitamins and minerals, beverage creators are working diligently to stay on top of the latest trends by incorporating novel ingredients in new ways. Innovators are leveraging the properties of materials like collagen, hemp, CBD, BCAAs, various nootropics, adaptogens, and botanicals in drinks to deliver everything from an energy boost to a better mood, and memory.
For every ingredient in their product, functional beverage founders may face a variety of unique formulation, sourcing, manufacturing, and business challenges including:
- Combining ingredients in harmony to create a synergistic formula in terms of flavor and function
- Managing the procurement, planning, supply chain, and quality assurance of ingredients from multiple suppliers
- Managing the blending and integration of ingredients in the production process
- Staying current with potential new ingredients, and their formulation and regulatory considerations
Premixes to the Rescue
Many functional beverage brand owners are using a powerful tool designed to address a number of these challenges while maintaining a rapid product development pace. That tool is a premix. A premix is a customized blend of two or more ingredients such as minerals, vitamins, amino acids, botanicals or sweeteners.
What makes premixes so powerful?
While a company’s success with premixes depends on how well they are leveraged to meet the needs of the beverage and the brand, there are several areas where premixes bring potential added benefits.
Better Blending and Batching
- Easier to manage single-use rates = less loss of materials and fewer chances for batching errors.
- Increased consistency in batching = more consistent product flavor and quality
- Fewer direct ingredient sources = fewer lead times and minimum order quantities (MOQs) to manage
- Higher ingredient turnover = fresher ingredients
- Individual ingredients sourced by premix supplier = additional quality checks and premix formulation management
Added Speed and Flexibility
- Market-ready blends = faster product launch
- Flexible format and quantities = more production flexibility
One of the most exciting advantages of a premix is the potential for using multiple ingredients together to improve a formulation.
Premix manufacturers understand individual ingredients, how they work together, and how they change, separately and together, during production. They use that knowledge source or create new ingredient forms as solutions to deliver a variety of desired functional benefits for different beverage types.
Some of the technical challenges solved by adding various forms of ingredients in premixes include:
- Diluting minor nutrients with a carrier to allow for homogenous blending with other materials
- Utilizing different forms of ingredients, such as iron to decrease oxidation
- Microencapsulating mineral salts to improve solubility
The quality of your premix will depend greatly on the supplier you choose to work with. A good premix company will uphold the same business practices and level of quality you want your brand to uphold. Other areas to investigate when selecting a premix supplier include:
- Experience and technical knowledge to blend a range of ingredients within certain specifications
- Familiarity with projects with similar constraints and specifications
- Ability to procure a wide range range of quality ingredients and a process to quickly evaluate and approve new ingredients as needed
- Availability of value-added services like analytical testing, special packaging, or vendor-managed inventory
The Future of Functional Premixes
The increasing demand for better-for-you beverages and the accelerated pace of ingredient innovation make a strong case for leaning on premixes to support successful functional beverage product development. A solid premix partner can give your functional drink a competitive edge by providing ideas, innovation, and insights to help you navigate, plan for, and deliver what’s next in functional beverages.
Could your beverage formulation benefit from a premix?