3 min read

The global drinks industry is transforming as a result of environmental pressures, consumer demands, and governmental legislation.

When it comes to the drinks industry, a huge proportion of it is taken up by businesses selling alcoholic drinks. In that area alone, huge changes are underway.

But this isn’t a recent trend. Over the past 50 years, as food and drink production has become globalised, the biggest players have innovated their production and distribution methods. They’ve sought out new markets and technologies which allow products to be stored for longer and transported over greater distances.

For example, Indian Pale Ale was created as a result of the East India Company wanting to find a way to transport beer from the UK to India and back. The traditional method of fermentation would mean that the beer would not keep for the journey. This meant that a different way of brewing was created, allowing a new tasting ale to enter the world.

To highlight the continued innovation within the drinks sector, here are a few of the latest developments in the industry.

Plant-based flavours

As more and more people turn away from meat and dairy-based diets, new and innovative businesses offering alternatives are born. This has driven a radical movement to offer food and drink which is completely plant-based, including all flavourings used.

This is no more obvious than in the milk alternative area. Soya, coconut, almond, and cashew milks are now commonplace in most coffee shops in large urban areas.

The flavourings used to make them taste like milk were extremely poor for a long time. However, the options for people who don’t want to drink milk are now extremely tasty and nutritious.

A sugar-free future

Sugar is considered to be extremely harmful as more and more research is being done on the refined granulated form.

“Sugar can act like poison in high doses—and the amount in our diets has gone beyond toxic,” says Robert Lustig, M.D., a neuroendocrinologist at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.

That is why the largest producers of drinks like Cola and Pepsi have launched so many alternatives over the years, but this is nothing new and aspartame, the sugar replacement used in diet cola and other ‘sugar-free’ drinks is actually just as damaging.

It is also not as clear how much sugar is in a particular drink. Nor is it apparent how many times over it passes a person’s daily recommended allowance.

However, as of the 1st of January 2020, the FDA will force food and drink suppliers to label the amount of sugar in their products much clearer.

Furthermore, the development and growing popularity of stevia and monk fruit as sweeteners, which are less damaging, points towards a sugar-free future.

Alcohol-free fever

Just as sugar is being reduced, so are the number of millennials who are drinking alcohol.

Brands such as BrewDog and others are aiming to create serious alternatives to their own alcoholic offerings without sacrificing taste.

Similarly to the milk alternative options we discussed, alcohol-free beer used to taste terrible. However, serious effort is being put into innovating and developing genuine alternatives as more and more young people put down the bottle.