The Emergence of the Health Beverage Revolution

Dated: 2011-01-29

I remember walking into my local cafe when I was a teenager, in the late eighties, and opening the door to the drink fridge tucked obscurely to one side of the wall. Back then the fridges were one door affairs that offered about fifteen different drinks: chocolate, full cream or strawberry milk, Coke, Lemonade, Fanta, Tonic and Solo soft drinks and pineapple, orange, apple and tomato juice.

If you were lucky you would come across the odd Dr Pepper or Cherry Cola.

In winter all that was on offer was a simple one bean coffee with milk and sugar, or a hot chocolate. If tea was your fancy there was Earl Grey, English breakfast and, just maybe, peppermint tea. 

Back then the choice was easy because I had no idea about health, but if I did would I have chosen the healthy alternative? The answer to this question today lies in the sheer number of healthy drinks and alternatives now available; demanded by health conscious consumers who are, after all, the driving factor behind the beverage market. 

For example, the other day I walked into a cafe and practically the whole of one wall was taken over by the drinks fridge. It was a four door behemoth crammed with glossy promotional adverts, flashing lights and over sixty different drinks—a visual extravaganza for the senses. 

There were energy drinks with strange names like Boo Koo, Killer Buzz, PimpJuice and Rip It. There were also soft drinks like Sarsaparilla, Appletiser, Passiona, Ginger Beer and alternatives like Coke Zero, Vanilla coke, Diet coke and Pepsi’s new ‘RAW’ made with natural ingredients.

There were at least twenty strange exotic organic juice blends, from Phoenix and Nudie, that contained Pomegranate, Acai berry, Feijoa, Guava and Mango Passion with Ginger. Unusual dairy blends like Honeycomb, Blue Heaven and Egg Flip, and Yakult acidophilus shots, also jostled for my attention. 

Then there were other colourful hybrid drinks with built in herbs and vitamins and a plethora of bottled waters on offer! If someone had told me they were selling water fifteen years ago, I would have laughed at them. Not anymore.

Behind the counter lay the hot beverage selection: five different beans and ten exotic herbal teas including chai. Sides included soya, rice, almond or oat milk as well as white, brown or organic sugar, artificial sweeteners and Natvia—a truly natural alternative.

The shifting dynamics of consumer lifestyles have driven this scope of choice. People are now commanding better quality, locally made, ethically run and health friendly beverages. To make up for poor health induced by busy lifestyles, inadequate exercise and unhealthy foods and drinks, consumers are seeking drinks that will care for them as well as tickle their taste buds. The successful entry of ethical and health conscience beverages can now be seen in cafes across the country. 

Health is the new black! So next time your eyes water with the colourful and abundant beverages choices on offer by your sales rep, or corner cafe, remember that the number of healthy drinks and alternatives available today have come about because of customer demand. The health conscious consumers are, after all, the driving factor behind the beverage market.

Give them the choice and they’ll thank you for it.

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