Private brand beverage consumers want added nutritional and functional benefits in coffee and tea products, while in refreshing beverages and alcohol they place more importance on flavor variety and price. This is according to research conducted by Kerry, the taste and nutrition company. To help in navigating the new beverage landscape, Kerry has analyzed its extensive 2021 research on private label trends and created an easy-to-navigate online report designed to provide information about the results and identify the exciting opportunities now shaping the private label space.

COVID-19 has driven a significant shift in consumer retail behavior that is also opening up new markets in private labeling. Beverages are front and center, leveraged by the recent emergence of a range of beverage innovations—including functional waters, better-for-you alcoholic beverages, and ready-to-drink coffee with enhanced benefits. In this environment, fast-acting private label product developers can gain a significant share of these emerging rapid-growth categories.

The proprietary research was designed to uncover two main types of private label consumers, as well as bring to light prevailing perceptions of brands and product attributes across key beverage categories. Insights related specifically to beverages have been broken out and discussed in order to inform direct guidance on tackling product innovation. Private label beverage consumers can be structured into two key groups: “adventure seekers” and “practical traditionalists.” Each of these types has unique and important attributes and desires that should be fully taken into account when creating new beverages.

Commenting on the beverage research—titled Captivating Consumers with Private Label Beverages—Shawn Gerstenkorn, Strategic Marketing Director, Beverage, says: “Our new interactive report takes a deep dive into private label beverage trends, telling processors and retailers exactly what types of product attributes are important to each type of consumer in the three key beverage groupings of nutritional and functional, refreshing and alcohol, and coffee and tea. Consumer expectations are significantly different across these categories, so it’s important for product developers to take them into account in their planning.”

Shawn Gerstenkorn, Strategic Marketing Director, Beverage, Kerry

“Kerry’s private label beverage research allows users to explore product packaging examples and also reveals what claims and ingredients resonate with the various consumer types. At the same time, the results highlight how Kerry can collaborate in bringing these types of products to life using our taste and nutrition solutions backed by the wide-ranging skills of our experienced applications teams. The disruptive nature of today’s beverage market means that new private label products have a strong opportunity to gain market share by innovating in these categories in order to attract consumers who, in rising fashion, want beverages that offer new taste experiences and functional benefits.”

Kerry’s research was conducted on 1,460 US food/beverage private label consumers, then prioritized by product category and retailer attributes. It took a close look at what’s truly driving category growth, then identified emerging opportunities in the beverage areas mentioned earlier (nutritional and functional; alcohol-based, including hard seltzer; non-alcoholic beverages/teas and coffees), as well as in foods. The pandemic has propelled changes that have enticed many new consumers into the private label space. Kerry explains the two key consumer types that emerged from the findings, and then offers targeted tips to ensure successful market launches.

Commenting on Kerry’s role in private label product development, Gerstenkorn added: “Kerry is a complete partner in the private label space, providing tailored market and consumer research insights alongside our taste and nutrition portfolio, as well as extensive applications expertise that facilitates the creation of the great-tasting, on-trend beverages consumers want. Private label beverages represent a significant opportunity, and our informative online research tutorial is both a great introduction to the opportunities available and an excellent way to identify how to partner with Kerry.”