CHICAGO -- Functional beverages -- drinks that contain an added boost of ingredients to enhance physical or mental function or add vitamins or nutrients -- are drawing the interest of younger consumers (57%), those aged 18 to 24, who are willing to experiment with new products and seek greater convenience inherent with single-serve beverages, according to a new study by Mintel, based here, on the evolving category.
y boomers, ages 45 to 54, show high interest among all functional segments, including energy drinks. This group will remain a key target in the functional drinks market based on the boomers' nutritional needs and need for convenience.
Mintel has also found that products designed for females, like soy-based beverages, have appeal to women 45 to 54 years old, as well as the 25-to-34 age set, who may be looking for milk alternatives that contain added calcium.
The age group with the lowest occasional purchase penetration is the 55 and older group, which could reflect older consumers' skepticism regarding the efficacy of these types of drinks, the report stated. Herbal teas and fortified meal replacements likely appeal to this group, while younger consumers are more concerned with the lifestyle aspects of functional drinks.
Due to the positive interest in the category and new product development, the functional beverage market is expected to grow retail sales 44% at current prices by 2008 to generate more than $13 billion in sales, the report said.
Who Is Most Likely to Purchase Functional Drinks?
Describe your attitude and behavior toward functional drinks:
All 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 over 65 You buy them regularly 7% 11% 5% 7% 5% 7% 6%
You buy them
occasionally 29% 46% 34% 33% 27% 18% 19%
You don't buy them 63% 43% 61% 58% 68% 73% 73%
Don't know 1% -- - 2% - 2% 3%