Communications and Sustainability Director
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How are hyperlocality, meaningfulness, optimisation of health benefits, concern for environmental and people's wellbeing, playfulness and unpredictability reflected in drinks? Altia’s fifth trend report explores megatrends and how they are present in 2021 drink trends.The trend report is an important product development tool for Altia and fosters innovations that look ahead to the next several years.
Humaneness and honesty are growing forces that are turning people towards locality and hyperlocality. Hyperlocality focuses on a small area like a city district or neighbourhood. Consumers now want to know about the people behind the products they buy and to show solidarity with those closest to them. According to Altia’s Consumer Insight Manager Milla Sorsakivi, hyperlocal thinking has deep roots in the craft movement.
“There is no precise definition for ‘craft’, which has given rise to a debate about what can actually be classified as a craft product and broadened the focus from manufacturing methods and handicrafts to the role people play,” Sorsakivi says.
The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the importance of meaningfulness and a personal touch. In times like these, people are not looking for an adrenaline rush. Instead, they want small meaningful moments that offer personal experiences that sit well with their values.
“Even small everyday moments can provide emotionally significant experiences. From a sustainability perspective, this is a positive development: a little is enough.”
The struggle for the wellbeing of the planet and people is a megatrend that affects everything. Green values are on the rise, and holistic responsible choices have gained momentum. More information is available on sustainability impacts, and companies are expected to act responsibly. The health trend, on the other hand, is undergoing a transformation, as people now increasingly want to experience personal health benefits. It is a search for balance. Products emphasise functionality, such as the health effects of berries and other familiar ingredients.
Playful enjoyment is an emerging phenomenon, in which choices are determined by joyfulness and lightness. Playfulness is reflected in colour as well as in enticing and exciting flavour combinations. The trend is driven by young age groups who have a positive outlook on the future. This is reflected in the desire to enjoy life without alcohol, as the alcohol-free trend develops through curiosity, experimentation and positive experiences.
Altia’s report also recognises unpredictability as a growing phenomenon that affects people’s behaviour. Careful planning is giving way to spontaneity – and many people find this liberating. Now they can think about the future from a more short-term and relaxed standpoint. On the other hand, people are also concerned about what will happen next. As a result, humaneness, honesty and locality are at the forefront, as are a sense of nostalgia and familiarity. These are all clearly visible in the taste spectrum of drinks in 2021.
This year, megatrends are driving five drink trends, the first of which is naturalness and lightness. This trend is both health-centred and experiential. Light taste profiles can be bitter, too. Lightness is an accelerating trend globally in the alcohol sector. Many international players are making noticeably lighter versions of their alcohol brands for the first time.
The interest in domesticity and local production is linked to common themes behind many megatrends, such as the progress and solidarity of people and nostalgia brought on by a need for a sense of security. Local procurement inspires more confidence than products from far-flung corners of the world.
Drink choices are now influenced by moderation. Here too, health is the key factor, in addition to a desire to try out different options with a positive spirit, as part of a playful and enjoyable lifestyle.
Convenience is a deep-seated consumer trend and comes across, for example, as a requirement for practical packaging. Packaging should make the product easy to carry, easy to open, durable, and provide information on product use. The sustainability of packaging is also important, although it should not lessen the user experience.
The wellbeing trend is also spearheaded by functionality. Internationally this is can be seen, for example, in new product launches of low-alcohol or non-alcoholic products, which often have an added element of healthiness. In Finland, this trend is strongly reflected in non-alcohol beverages and juices.
The drinking phenomena of the near future show an interesting contrast, Sorsakivi concludes: “People do not want to compromise on ease of use, while at the same time they constantly demand more from tastes and manufacturing methods. Choices are made with wellbeing in mind, with a good balance between indulgence and moderation. At Altia, we are developing future drinking experiences with these contrasts in mind.”