Standing out among the competition in a category such as shelf-stable beverages is daunting to say the least. However, there are certain brands who are paying attention to the mass movement of consumers away from sugary and artificial beverages and toward shorter ingredient lists, healthier choices, and options that have functional and added dietary benefits. Three emerging trends from the past couple of years are ready-to-drink teas, carbonated juices and waters as well as taking the cold-pressed phenomenon out of the refrigerated section and into the middle of the store.

Shelf Stable Beverages trend

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With ready-to-drink tea sales projected to be $9 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion just five years prior, its needless to say that the tea category is booming. Major players like Starbucks, Steaz and Nestea have all taken notice and are anteing up with new packaging, new products and reformulation. Starbucks recently rolled out a RTD version of Tevana to select retailers in hopes to capitalize on this trend. Nestea, always a major player in this category, has paid particular attention to market demand when they recently reformulated their tea to have a mix of sugar and stevia as well as removing any artificial flavors. With the majority of consumers actively searching for “no sugar added”, “organic” or any type of added health/functional benefit all companies, big and small are taking notice.


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With the trend moving more toward organic and natural beverages, brands are constantly trying to find ways to set themselves apart – what better way to do this than to add a little sparkle. Cawston Press and Spindrift have stood out in the sparkling water + fruit juice space with giants like Aquafina, Dasani and Smart Water are jumping on the bandwagon by recently releasing new products and joining the sparkling revolution. Looking at the category from a design perspective Dry disrupts the shelf by using elegant glass bottles and simple clean design instead of a standard 12oz can which is the current standard structure. Overall, the brands that are communicating simple, few and clean ingredients are winning out at shelf.

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As the cold-pressed revolution continues to expand, it has recently found itself in the shelf-stable aisle. Emerging brands like Lakewood Organic and Telula have begun to pasteurize their juices to provide a longer shelf life while not sacrificing the nutrients and quality of the product itself. While Telula is usually placed in the refrigerated aisle, as the trend toward shelf-stable cold-pressed juices grow, there’s no doubt they will dominate with their custom and larger (14oz) structure among the competitors. It will be interesting to see if the giants in the cold-pressed juice brands like Evolution, Suja and BluePrint will follow suit.

Interested in hearing more of our expert grocery insights? Stay tuned, as we’ll be delving into different categories on shelf every other Friday!