Next Wave of RTD Alcohol: Self-Care

Identify, Interpret, Implement – the three I’s of Next Wave, a future-looking trendspotting tool Synergy Flavors created to enable innovation teams to get ahead of macro changes in consumer behavior.

Compiling consumer insights and social listening, we identify commonalities we’re seeing across consumer goods industries; interpret what that trend could mean for food and drink; then implement these trends through concept development and flavor creation. In this series of Next Wave blogs, we’ll dive into how we anticipate the current wave of trends we’ve identified are already impacting the alcohol market, starting with Self-care:  

Consumers taking a holistic and strategic approach to health and wellness, and how they incorporate this practice in their daily activities.   

Rise of Self-Care 

Evolving during COVID-19 shutdowns, consumers across the globe began to focus on taking better care of themselves, both mentally and physically. While self-care is not by any means a new practice, it became more prevalent and mainstream as the world faced and learned to deal with living with uncertainty. From face masks and scented candles to banana bread and at-home functional drinks, consumers sought to create a sense of stability within their lives by creating a state of calmness through relaxation while our environments seemed endlessly chaotic. 

Shifting Consumer States & Use Occasions 

As the world continues to face the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we are adjusting to a new state of normalcy. The Mighty Shed, a brand innovation consultancy group, recently released a report titled “The Shifting States of Wellbeing,” in which they discussed new trends and products that provide answers to consumer’s shifting need-states, including happiness, energy, and connections – all of which can draw back to self-care. 

Examples of these trends and their relationship to self-care is highlighted below: 

With consumers focusing on improving levels of happiness, energy and social connections, we see the beginnings of a movement away from self-preservation toward a state of optimization.  

What Does This Mean for Food & Drink? 

Less alcohol. Brands will continue to look for the “sweet spot” for ABV levels, whether that means lowering alcohol content and allowing consumers to drink responsibly throughout the drinking occasions, or oppositely, providing a smaller serving size of higher alcohol content.  

Functional, natural ingredients. Hydration continues to be a big focus, with brands exploring electrolytes and other natural ingredients, such as aloe, cactus and coconut waters, to create innovative concepts that appeal to consumers’ desire for value-added products.  

Use Occasions. American consumers purchase with purpose – the items that manage to find their way into grocery carts are those with value, whether for the dollar or for a reason. Fifty-five percent of Americans surveyed by Innova Market Insights say they purchase hard alcohol, liquor and spirits “to relax and wind down” followed by 36% who say they buy “to indulge/treat or reward myself.” Both reasons have an emotional base, and likely give reason to the 62% of Americans who typically consume alcohol in the evening, as opposed to other times throughout the day (Innova Market Insights). 

Botanicals in Bloom 

Consumers already correlate botanicals with self-care – as most choose floral flavors when looking to feel relaxed and calm, and herbal flavors when looking to feel healthy and refreshed (Innova Market Insights).  

Hibiscus is expected to have a nearly 50% increase in menu mentions over the next four years, according to Innova Market Insights. The botanical flavor’s percentage of new product launches was 10% in 2021, up from 5% in 2017, Innova reports. 

Botanical flavors create a distinctive and delicious taste experience for consumers. Synergy’s proprietary processing system minimizes any loss of flavor and aroma volatiles during extraction, allowing us to capture the true essence of a taste profile. Our natural extracts and essences for the food, beverage and nutrition markets deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that keeps consumers coming back for more. 

Looking for more? Contact us or reach out to your Synergy account manager to learn more about Next Wave and Self-care in alcohol.