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Heart, gut and brain health leading opportunities for functional drinks

25 September 2014

Heart health, gut and digestive issues, and cognitive health are the leading consumer concerns that manufacturers of functional drinks should look to target, finds new report from Canadean.

Heart health concern growing among the young

Heart health is a primary area of concern among consumers, with 75% indicating that they are ‘very interested’ or ‘interested’ in drinks that can help meet this need. According to Canadean’s 2014 survey, adults of all ages are expressing a desire for heart health drinks, however this peaks among those aged 18-24. Catherine O’Connor, senior analyst at Canadean explains: “Concerns over heart health are affecting consumers at a younger age than ever before, leading to significant demand for products that can help to prevent issues in later life.”

Aging populations causing demand for gut health drinks

Demand is also on the rise for beverages that can aid in digestive health. This need is fuelled by a global aging society – who experience changes in the digestive tract and issues such as constipation, diarrhea and indigestion – seeking products that can keep their digestive system running smoothly. Moreover, some consumers are experiencing a lack of fibre from their food choices alone and are looking for ways to supplement this and aid digestion. According to O’Connor, “women in particular are expressing an interest in digestive health drinks, with dairy-based functional beverages proving a popular choice due to the satiety they provide.”

Consumers young and old seek cognitive health products

Brain health is an area of great consumer interest for functional drinks, with needs that span all age groups. Aging consumers desire products that can help to maintain healthy brain function and avoid cognitive decline, whereas consumers in their middle years seek preventative products that act as an earlier intervention against the same. Younger consumers too can be targeted with products that aid in mental development and sharpness, such as drinks for children that will help them to concentrate at school. O’Connor explains, “in order to promote brain health, manufacturers extend drinks fortified with omega-3 and omega-6 – which can reduce the risk of cognitive decline – DHA – which is essential for brain development – and ginkgo biloba – which can affect mood and attention.”


Heart and gut health

Percentage of consumers who express interest in functional drinks benefits, sample size of 2000 UK consumers, 2014.


Heart and gut health 2

Right: Beat Juice is positioned as helping to lower blood pressure through the antioxidant effect of polyphenols. Left: Slingshot’s probiotic drink is shaken up to provide a fibre-packed breakfast beverage.


These findings are based on the new Canadean report: Functional Drinks - Reassessing future potential, determining consumer targets, and delivering credible products. The report is available via The Industry Report Store.

For more information, please contact the Canadean press team. Call +44 (0) 2079 366 713 or email 

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