The ready-to-drink, or RTD sub-sector of the beverage industry, is rapidly growing and capturing an increasingly large percentage of the market. It grew, in fact, by more than 40% in global consumption in 2020. Americans are a big part of that push. It is further projected that global RTD’s hold will improve by an additional 22% by 2024.
Several decades ago, ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages were mostly sugary, made of unnatural ingredients, and relegated to the bottom shelf. Now, RTDs have advanced into higher quality ingredients, tapping into the premiumization trend.
SAVVY CONSUMERS LOOKING FOR NATURAL INGREDIENTS
In addition to the “high-end” trend in beverages, there is a major push for natural, organic, and otherwise healthy ingredients. Consumers are really reading labels these days, more aware than ever about what they’re putting into their bodies.
The health and wellness trend is highly evident in the alcohol space, according to experts. Today, the influencers with purchase power are choosing to review the contents more closely on RTD labels and they are looking for natural flavorings, natural colors, immunity-building support, and ingredients that promote digestive health, along with also helping to naturally boost energy. The keyword here is “natural.” Also popular are the properties imbibed from chamomile, lavender, cacao, green tea, and CBD used to promote calm and relaxation.
Drinks containing probiotics, vitamins, and antioxidants are trending more, no doubt with some thanks to the Covid-19 virus that has everyone struggling to find ways to maintain good health. Of course, this may not fit within the distilled beverage niche, but the Coronavirus has had other impacts.
With Covid-19 came the closures of restaurants, bars, and pubs. People still longed for the flavors of their favorite mixed drinks, but either didn’t want to– or didn’t feel up to the task of playing bartender themselves. Canned drinks are now more acceptable than ever and brands that can be “Instagram-friendly” are the “go-to” choice among the younger market demographics.
CONVENIENT PACKAGING ALL THE RAGE
As the single-use, convenient, immediate-gratification packaging of canned beverages gains ground with more consumers, market shelves are seeing not only more products with natural ingredients, but the ever-popular iced coffees, yogurt drinks, and teas are also appearing in the immediately drinkable cans, along with cocktails and wines. RTDs are all about the fast-paced lifestyles that many lead these days. Currently, RTDs are big business in the United States and Japan, thanks to the drink’s changing image, and this market segment is expected to continue to explode.
There were already surges in craft beers and hard seltzers, and now producers are looking to recognize the next trend. The hard seltzer space is very crowded. Big brands and small operations, alike, saw the shift and entered the arena. However, this left room in the distilled RTD beverage category.
MAKING YOUR MARK
Deutsche is poised to assist start-up operations and those looking to branch into a new category. From mash cookers to copper stills, Deutsche offers the full array of equipment and the custom engineering prowess needed to help your distillation and RTD operation make a real splash in this growing niche.