In the beverage industry, new products are fulfilling more than just offering refreshment. They are adding vitamins and minerals, proteins, fiber and much more. New beverages also are addressing the obesity crisis.
Earlier this year, the American Beverage Association, Washington, D.C., joined forces with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded by the American Heart Association and The Clinton Foundation, as well as The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo Inc. and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group to support the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment, which includes a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.
Among the ways that beverage-makers are doing this is with natural, no-calorie sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit. A search on Chicago-based Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) for new drinks that contained stevia showed that 85 were launched in the United States from January to June. Fifteen new beverages that contained monk fruit were launched in the United States during that same time period, according to GNPD.
With products including these no calorie sweeteners, formulators must ensure that the equipment they are using in their formulations can stand the test of time and innovation. In a 2014 Beverage Industry feature on processing automation, Kevin Henretta, chief engineer for SensiBlend and chief technical officer of Hygeia Industries Inc., the brand’s Wilmette, Ill.-based parent company, noted the impact these new formulation trends are having on the market.
“The sports drink market is a great example,” Henretta told Beverage Industry. “The number of ingredients is increasing as sports drinks are really becoming more like energy drinks or health drinks with double-digit numbers of ingredients. The depth refers to the many different variations that now exist — different flavors, caffeine versus non-caffeine, real sugar versus artificial sugar, targeted toward men’s health or women’s health, etc. An automated system that can adapt from one product to the next and hit a wide range of capacities is desired when the product range is like this.”
As we continue to see more better-for-you beverages, we also can expect to see innovations to equipment that will make this process seamless for the formulators.