Have you ever thought about how flavours go in and out of fashion? Hemp, ginger and grape are set to dominate in the soft drinks market over the coming months. Jenny Southan reports

According to leading data and analytics company  GlobalData, the top five innovative flavours shaping the global soft drinks landscape in 2021 include hemp, ginger and grape.

GlobalData says the non-alcoholic drinks sector recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 0.9%* between 2015 and 2020. Producers have seen a challenging landscape in recent years, battling rising costs, sugar taxes, packaging legislations and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic.

This resulted in global efforts to reduce calorie and sugar content in product ranges, as well as develop “novel” flavors, to attract consumer attention.

Holly Inglis, beverages analyst at GlobalData, says: “Beverage flavors are arguably the most important factor in determining consumer purchasing decisions, with 29% of global consumers stating they would happily try a new drink flavor out of simple curiosity.

“This highlights huge incentive for producers such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Unilever and PepsiCo to launch new product developments – and reinforces soft drinks as a fast paced, innovative industry.”

Inglis highlights the top five flavor launches in 2021 so far that are shaping the global soft drinks landscape:

Hemp and CBD

“Hemp and CBD infused drinks are continuing to garner interest, with products such as Trader Joe’s non-dairy hemp beverage in the US and Sonnenstar hemp juice shot in Austria.

“While hemp and CBD are positively received by a third and fifth of global consumers respectively, GlobalData’s survey indicates that a considerable portion are still unfamiliar with the ingredients – producers must address this to ensure the longevity of their hemp- or CBD-infused launches.”


“Mango flavoured drinks have emerged in Romania and Singapore, though a flurry of innovations with flavor combinations that incorporate mango have been observed in the US, UK and France.

“In the US, PepsiCo’s Bubly Bounce product tags no calories or sweeteners and is a carbonated water brand combining grapefruit, mango orange and passionfruit aromas.”


“Peach-based products such as Lipton’s peach tea with honey, and Badoit’s peach flavored sparkling flavored water in France both tag either low calorie or low sugar bases, reinforcing positive brand connotations, and favorable views on peach as a flavor base.”


“Ginger, on the other hand, has been integrated across parts of the globe such as Nigeria, South Korea and Peru, in line with consumers opting for products that promote digestive health and wellness claims. In fact, 78% of global consumers believe that ginger has a positive impact on their health, reinforcing those links to health/wellness, and promoting manufacturer opportunity to innovate in line with consumer trends.”


“Interestingly, grape-based products have also made an appearance in 2021, which is fighting off current stereotypes of grape flavored beverages being high in sugar and bad for health, especially in parts of West Europe where they have less-than-favorable links to low quality.

“A notable launch in Brazil from EBBA tackles this narrative via its grape nectar, which is claimed to have no added sugar.”

Inglis concludes: “What can be seen in the soft drinks landscape is the development of several unique flavour launches, all of which apply to varying consumer trends across the globe.

“Health and wellness attributes are meeting experimental flavours, which then crosses with exotic launches, appealing to a wide array of consumers. These launches will set the tone for the future of the soft drinks market, as one that is highly innovative and prospering.

“Although only five ingredient developments have been highlighted, the future is expected to see a number of developments from flavors such as aloe and berry; we will also see more flavour combinations hit the shelves, combining non-fruit and herbal notes, with unique fruit bases.”

What’s coming next? Trend reports available to download HERE