When looking for an afternoon pick-me-up, most consumers turn to beverages that give them energy. The same can be said for the beverages people choose early in the morning: consumers tend to turn to coffee to wake up.
Abbott says that while this category is an important factor affecting consumer beverage choice, people look for different types of energy from their drinks at different times of the day.
Distinguishing between instant energy (the energy you might get 20 minutes after drinking your morning coffee) versus sustained energy (energy that might give you slow and steady stamina throughout the day) is something that consumers take into consideration.
Consumers might distinguish between the caffeine in coffee (which ranks the highest in the energy category) or ingredients like matcha in an energy drink (second highest) depending on when they plan to drink.
Experience and pairing
Far from the effect of energy drinks, Abbott says that most consumers (36%) are looking to calm down or relax when they choose a beverage for the experience they associate with it. Twenty-six percent of consumers say they are looking for a treat when choosing a drink for the experience and 24% are looking for a moment to themselves.
“Beverages in the alcohol and low-alcohol categories are most associated with experience for consumers,” says Abbott.
When it comes to pairing, she explains that most consumers are looking to have something to drink with food or something that pairs well with food like cereal with milk or soda with a salty snack. Dairy and soda ranked the highest in this category (163 and 137 respectively).
The state of drink
Today, most consumer packaged goods brands and beverage companies are turning their efforts toward healthier ingredients, responding to a modern consumer that prioritizes health and experience. Abbott says that health and wellness is essential to consumers’ beverage aspirations.
[Read more: "Thirst for health"]
Beyond health, the study shows that most innovations are being made in categories like no/low alcohol. Concepts like “Dry January” have grown in popularity among Canadians, and more companies have turned to these categories to meet the demand of Canadian consumers who want experience without a buzz.
Abbott says that the best way for companies to respond to demand is to think about how to enhance product features to appeal to the health-conscious, experience-seeking consumer. Think about the messaging your product sends and let that translate into design. For c-stores, good placement can also help.