categorywatching - Soft Drinks 2024

Our Soft Drinks 2024 report is now live! Experiential, comforting, and full of targeted nutrition innovation… it's no wonder the soft drinks category is more exciting than ever.

Although soft drinks still remain a recreational and refreshing treat, functionality has been a pervasive trend this time around. Drinks aimed at all age groups promote hydration and beyond, with the addition of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals. Mushrooms and herbal ingredients take the reigns from CBD.

Three takeouts from our Soft Drinks 2024 report are:

1. Targeted Nutrition – As consumers continuously seek convenient ways to meet their health goals, soft drinks deliver a system that is quick, handy, and delicious. Sugar reduction is still high on the agenda. But look out increasingly for drinks touting targeted nutrition – because one size does not(!) fit all. For instance, maca root targets women's health… Pre-, pro- and even post-biotics are aimed at improving gut health… Nootropics bring brain health into focus (no pun intended!)… And the rise in E-sports inspires healthier energy drinks, as vitamin A and zinc add a dose of goodness.

2. Sensory Play – Soft drinks offer an affordable entry point for sensory play… Think bold experimental flavours, unexpected textures, and colours without limits. A shot of glitter, jumbo-sized, movie-inspired, or even 'mystery-flavoured' as a fun guessing game… These hyper sensory (and hyper fun!) approaches demand attention as Gen Z look to up the ante on their average iced coffee.

3. Nostalgic Comforts – Comforting classics are making their mark in the soft drink category… Think classic pud-inspired (sticky toffee pudding milkshake, anyone?) or milkshakes in retro glasses, topped with popping candy, cherries and extra dollops of ice cream. Cola and lemonade bring a taste of nostalgia with a twist, too. Fruits and herbs added to lemonade, for instance, or cola cold brew coffee floats for a change to your morning (or afternoon!) soft drink fix.

trendhub subscribers can access the full 98-page Soft Drinks categorywatching report on the hub here. If you're not yet subscribed but are interested to find out more, please get in touch.