India's non-alcoholic beverage market has been dominated by carbonated drinks. Consumers have relied on limited options and flavors for consumption. Readily available, these drinks captured a majority of the market for their thirst-quenching and refreshing properties. However, the trends are now changing. New alternatives are entering the market with shifting lifestyle patterns and changing consumer behaviors. They are garnering a lot of demand and attention from consumers, and pulp-based, fruity, fizzy drinks are one of their most prominent. Their nourishing properties with the goodness of fresh fruits and rich flavors are widely becoming popular in the Indian markets. They are not just refreshments but are great alternatives to conventional carbonated drinks, which are high in sugar and artificial ingredients.
The young millennials and GenZ are quick to try new things to satiate their taste buds and feel refreshed. They are more attracted to innovative products and embrace newness with an open mindset. They are choosing drinks that provide them with real-fruit content and nutrition. Many leading brands are already capturing the changing demands and increasingly manufacturing pulp-based, fizzy drinks that carry nutrients of real fruit with freshness, hygiene, and better shelf life. These beverages have better nutritional quality than aerated drinks, are beneficial for consumers, and increase the consumption of fruits.
These drinks are a completely new concept with natural flavors and colors. They are prepared from fresh fruit pulp extracted from ripe fruits. The pulp is rich and natural and is complimented with elements that boost immunity and keep the body active and full of energy. Because most pulpy fruits can be used for pulp extraction to prepare fruit juice bases, it becomes easier to offer a variety of flavors rich in nutrients.
The fruit-based fizzy drinks are also great as they provide fiber and lower sugar levels compared to commonly available soft drinks in the market. Consumers are actively shifting to these new options due to less artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, and even caffeine. Fruit pulp contains several vitamins, flavors and antioxidants, which consumers prefer.
Additionally, as Indians have fond childhood memories of fruits, especially during summers, the nostalgia factor is another reason behind this growing inclination towards these drinks. Flavors such as mango, grapes, lychee, etc. are gaining more popularity and demand in the non-alcoholic beverage market. The manufacturers are going a step ahead and are offering pre-biotic sodas or vitamin-rich drinks to give a new beverage experience to the customers. Moreover, consumers are shifting away from alcohol and choosing healthier alternatives for parties and celebrations. As all, especially children, like these drinks, they find a place in every Indian family for every occasion. All can consume them and for this reason, the demand is growing significantly.
According to a recent report, the Indian non-alcoholic beverages market is expected to reach $13.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.10 %. Taking benefit of the growth and the opportunities, manufacturers are constantly innovating and are launching new products. The non-alcoholic beverage segment had very few options earlier. Still, today by introducing a wide variety of flavors in pulp-based, fizzy drinks, companies are efficiently catering to consumer demands and are expanding their consumer base.
Author - Kuldeep Vamja, co-founder, Freshone Juices, Under IIMB NSRCEL Consumer Start-up Cohort