ADM leads the way in health-conscious beverage innovation

Pioneering functional ingredients and Ready-to-Drink solutions for the modern consumer
ADM leads the way in health-conscious beverage innovation

In today's rapidly evolving beverage industry, where health and convenience are paramount, ADM (Archer Daniels Midland Company) stands at the forefront, pioneering innovation in functional ingredients and ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. In an exclusive interview with FoodTechBiz, Sarah Lim, ADM's marketing director for Asia Pacific (excluding China), sheds light on how ADM is meeting the rising demand for health-conscious beverages through cutting-edge solutions and deep industry expertise. Please find below the excerpts of the interview:

Sarah Lim, APEC Marketing Director, Beverages, ADM
Sarah Lim, APEC Marketing Director, Beverages, ADM

FTB - Please tell us about ADM and its beverage portfolio.

Sarah Lim - At the forefront of innovation, ADM offers an expansive pantry of ingredients to help product developers deliver on-trend flavor profiles that meet the evolving preferences of consumers.

Powered by state-of-the-art science, technical ingenuity and regulatory expertise, our portfolio includes prebiotics, probiotics, dietary fibre, functional vitamins as well as energy and sports blends that may include extracts. These solutions serve a breadth of applications in the beverage sector.

From flavored waters and juices to sports drinks and alcoholic beverages, manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region can leverage our formulation expertise, product development capabilities and industry know-how to craft innovative and delicious beverages for the modern consumer.

FTB - Could you discuss how ADM addresses the growing demand for convenient yet health-conscious beverages in today’s fast-paced world?

Sarah Lim - Today’s consumers are adopting a more proactive and holistic approach to their health, making mindful decisions driven by their desire for balanced wellness[1]. At the same time, fast-paced lifestyles and daily routines are leading them to seek flexible and convenient solutions, such as ready-to-drink (RTD) flavored waters that they can easily consume on-the-go to meet their nutritional needs.

With a full pantry of trend-forward functional ingredient offerings across different categories and deep formulation expertise, we serve as a full-service partner for manufacturers in the beverage industry, accelerating their product’s journey to market.

FTB - What role do functional ingredients play in the development of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages and how do they cater to consumers’ health and wellness goals?

Sarah Lim - Global consumers are placing a greater emphasis on their health, with 45% reporting an increased interest in health-boosting ingredients over the past two years. They are seeking health-boosting and ethical products with enhanced nutritional value to improve their daily well-being[2].

Similarly, within the RTD beverage category, consumers want their refreshments to do more than quench their thirst. Specifically, 59% and 54% of global consumers are interested in beverages that offer immune support and aid cognitive health respectively. Other sought-after benefits for beverages include digestive and metabolic health, sport / recovery and mood support[3].

Incorporating functional ingredients into RTD beverages promotes health benefits and enables consumers to meet their daily nutritional goals amidst their busy schedules.

FTB - Could you elaborate on the specific types of functional ingredients that manufacturers can incorporate into RTD beverages, such as vitamin-infused waters and beverages enhanced with adaptogens?

Sarah Lim - Amidst the shift towards better-for-you beverages, consumers are seeking solutions with familiar ingredients from nature that are safe, clean label, functional and produced respecting their values of trust and traceability[4]. Brands can tap into this movement by incorporating recognizable botanicals, such as hibiscus powder and chamomile extracts, into their beverages.

Furthermore, consumers are increasingly associating botanical ingredients with aiding various aspects of health, particularly emotional well-being. As a result, 42% of global consumers expressed that the use of botanicals or botanical flavors would incentivize them to increase their consumption of beverages[5].

ADM’s NaturePlus and NatureSource ranges offer on-trend and well-established botanical extracts and powders that give RTD flavored waters the health halo that consumers are looking for. Combined with our long-standing experience working with raw materials and deep extraction knowledge and capabilities, our portfolio of functional botanicals enhances the taste of RTD beverages while providing holistic nutritional benefits.

In addition, citrus flavors remain highly sought-after in functional RTD beverages, injecting taste profiles that resonate with consumers. Apart from traditional flavors like orange and lemon, emerging varieties such as yuzu, calamansi, blood orange and grapefruit are gaining attention. As Japanese and Korean cultures become more popular in Southeast Asia, consumers are also showing a keen interest in citrus and fruit flavors inspired by these countries, such as dekopon orange, honey citron and shine muscat.

Beyond their favored taste, citrus-flavored beverages establish a connection with the functional benefits associated with these fruits, appealing to health-conscious consumers seeking products that support their wellness goals. 

Our proprietary CorefoldTM technology ensures our flavors maintain the authentic essence of citrus fruits, allowing beverage manufacturers to create products that stand out in the market. For example, when used in flavored water formulations, Corefold™ can deliver the needed body and mouthfeel that may be lost without juice or sugar content.

FTB - Could you explain the concept of complete flavor and ingredient systems and how they contribute to ADM’s ability to offer turnkey solutions for healthy and delicious RTD beverages?

Sarah Lim - Flavor and ingredient systems bring together single ingredients like flavors, colors and extracts, and functional ingredients with high-volume raw materials such as purees and concentrates, culminating into a single, easy-to-use solution for beverages. They empower beverage developers to create exciting taste profiles through easy-to-use ready solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into existing processes. 

ADM’s years of engineering expertise and quality management processes assure beverage developers of the standardized quality of flavor systems, with the same sensory impact, color, acidity, functionality and features across all batches. Our team of food technologists and process engineers partner manufacturers from conceptualization to commercialization to ensure the best recipe formulation for RTD beverages to meet consumer demands for both taste and nutrition.

[1] ADM Global Consumer Trends Report, 2023

[2] FMCG Gurus, Top Ten Trends for 2024, November 2023

[3] The Hartman Group, Functional Food & Beverage and Supplements, 2020

[4] ADM OUTSIDE VOICETM, Global Lifestyles Proprietary Research conducted in 22 countries, 2023

[5] FMCG Gurus, Soft Drinks Global Report, 2024

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