8 Functional Drinks Flooding Store Shelves

water with fruit in it, healthy drinks

Packaged beverages often are pilloried for their sugar content and flavorings, but recent trends in packaged drinks—healthy hydration, flavored and enhanced waters, and other enhanced drinks—may help turn around that perception.

“Beverages have often been given a bad rap as a source of ‘empty calories,’ but there has been lots of innovation recently in exciting additions to water,” says Hannah Polk, associate data product manager and registered dietitian at Chicago-based data firm SPINS. “Flavored sparkling water has seen an increase of 29.8% within SPINS’ Natural Enhanced Channel over the past year.”

Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink at Chicago-based Mintel, says that consumers “are taking a preventative approach to their overall health, now more than ever,” adding that 31% of consumers are moving toward foods and beverages with immune support claims, while 51% prefer to consume products with zero-sugar claims.

Read ahead for a showcase of eight recently launched beverages or shots with a functional component to them.

Photograph: Shutterstock

Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater

In April, Coca-Cola Co.’s vitaminwater debuted two new flavors designed to boost nutrition from vitamins and electrolytes. The vitaminwater “gutsy” flavor is watermelon peach with 5 grams of prebiotic fiber to aid digestion and help support gut health. Vitaminwater “look” is blueberry hibiscus-flavored with vitamin A and lutein to support eye health.

Photograph courtesy of Coca-Cola Co.

Unity

Unity

In March, Unity CBD beverages from Unity Wellness Co. rolled out five new flavors: Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry Lavender, Blackberry Tea, Ginger Lemonade and Elderflower Rose. All the drinks are blended with plant-based “super-nutrients” intended to boost mood and enhance focus. A 14-ounce bottle offers four plant-based nutrients, as well as 30 mg of CBD to alleviate stress, anxiety, pain and inflammation. The drinks contain 35 calories and 6 grams of sugar with no THC, artificial flavors or preservatives. A 6-pack is available for an SRP of $42, 12-packs for $84.

Photograph courtesy of Unity Wellness Co.

Aha Sparkling Water

Aha Sparkling Water

In March, Coca-Cola Co.—after testing more than 40 pairings before optimizing recipes—debuted Aha Sparkling Water with two new flavor pairings, Raspberry + Acai and Mango + Black Tea, which contains 30 mg of caffeine. The flavor combinations offer bold aromatics without sodium or sweeteners and deliver on the brand’s commitment to formulating flavor-forward experiences, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of Coca-Cola Co.

Olipop

olipop soft drinks, healthier soda

New Olipop is on a mission to improve soda-drinkers’ digestive health. A nostalgic take on a classic beverage without the excess sugar, Olipop is a fizzy tonic that combines the benefits of prebiotics, plant fiber and botanicals while relying on a scientifically proven formulation designed to improve digestive and microbiome health, according to the drink-maker. The drink contains 10 grams of fiber.

Photograph courtesy of Olipop

Frutly

Frutly

In February, PepsiCo debuted a new hydrating juice water in Frutly, consisting of fruit juice, water and electrolytes magnesium and potassium. A source of vitamins C and E, Frutly comes in Strawberry Kiwi, Fruit Punch and Apple Grape flavors, with 60 calories per 12-ounce serving. The beverage is available for an SRP of $1.29 per 12-ounce bottle and $3.98 per 12-ounce 4-pack.

Photograph courtesy of PepsiCo

Defy

Defy

Defy launched its first non-CBD beverage in Defy Water, a high-performance alkaline water. Defy Water comes in three sizes: 20-ounce, 1-liter and 1.5-liter packages. Ionized with an alkaline pH 9.5+, infused with electrolytes and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, Defy Water is free from impurities such as bisphenol A, MTBE, hormones, chlorines and other common hazards and contaminants, the company says.

Photograph courtesy of Defy

So Good So you

So Good So you

The So Good So You line of immunity-boosting juice shots feature four formulations: Immunity Shot—Powered by Camu Camu (watermelon-strawberry flavored shot packed with 1 billion CFUs of probiotics to support healthy immune and digestive system); Immunity Shot–Powered by Elderberry (rich in antioxidants and vitamins); Immunity Shot–Powered by Ginger (blend of pure juices and addition of 1 billion CFUs of probiotics); and Immunity Shot–Powered by Turmeric (including cinnamon, raw honey and orange juice).

Photograph courtesy of So Good So you

LifeWtr

LifeWtr

PepsiCo’s LifeWtr Immune Support bottle features a blue cap, a key differentiator from the original LifeWtr line, as well as a code-based design from Zach Lieberman, an artist and educator at the forefront of computer graphics and human-computer innovation. The design was first introduced on the premium bottled water brand’s seventh design series, Art Through Technology, in 2019. The drink contains 10% of the recommended daily value of zinc to aid immune function, according to the company.

Photograph courtesy of PepsiCo