RC blog website Header 2560x1102

Feeling Fruity: The Latest Trend In Soda Flavors

5 2021

Fruit has a long history as a carbonated beverage flavoring, with orange and lemon-lime flavors dominating the market as longtime industry favorites, beloved by millions of consumers. But in recent months, fruit has become one of the hottest beverage trends sweeping the globe, with consumer interest in traditional and exotic fruit flavors in soda and carbonated drinks higher than ever. 

Read on to learn more about how you can tailor your beverage marketing strategy to transform consumer demand for fruit flavors into success for your brand.

Detecting the trend

Fruit flavors aren’t just for juice anymore. More and more consumers are turning to fizzy drinks, carbonated water, and sodas with fruity flavoring. According to the research firm Greenseed Group, the fruit-flavored carbonated segment is estimated to see one of the fastest boosts, with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.3% between 2020 to 2027. 

Manufacturers are definitely picking up on this beverage trend and responding by introducing a large number of new flavored beverages to meet consumer demand. Prebiotic sodas, vitamin-enriched functional beverages, and fruit-flavored, vitamin-infused water are just a few of the new fruit-centered drinks that have debuted on the market in recent weeks.


With the global value of fruit drinks reaching some $34 billion and on a clear course to continue an upward growth trajectory, manufacturers should take heed of this hot trend and consider leveraging fruity flavors for a boost to their brand’s bottom lines.

Why fruit, and why now?

Consumer awareness around the dietary value of beverages has reached an all-time high, especially as governments around the world levy additional taxes on sugary carbonated drinks. Many people associate fruit with both nature and health, and the market’s embrace of fruit is part of an overall trend toward healthier beverage options.

According to a study from food and drink research firm Kerry, COVID-19 may also play a part in this new preference, as some 59 percent of consumers report seeking out drinks fortified with vitamins to boost their immune systems. When consumers believe that drinks with Vitamin C and other nutrients will provide an added layer of protection during the pandemic, it’s no surprise that healthy and functional drinks, including fruit flavored beverages, are experiencing a renaissance.

“We believe that the functional beverage category will gain traction as lifestyle consumers tune into an expected surge in new product launches, with many targeting more holistic attitudes towards health, diet and lifestyle,” says Breda Kelly, Kerry’s Nutritional Beverage Lead for Europe and Russia.

Nostalgia is also a major factor for the renewed interest in fruit drinks. A number of fruit flavors, including grape (Nehi) and Black Cherry, call to mind old childhood favorites. It’s critical to note that fragrance is important for these products - consumers will expect the beverage to have the scent they associate with the flavor and will seek out drinks that provide this multi-sensory experience.

Which flavors are on the rise?

Exotic fruit flavors like guava, tamarind, dragon fruit, lychee and kiwi are also enjoying their time in the spotlight, particularly in Latin America. But while these flavors may be especially popular in that region, more adventurous consumers in a rich array of markets are likely open to trying an unusual fruit beverage. 

In a time when many people are not able to travel far from home, “using exotic fruits allows customers to travel the world in the safety of their seat,” says Brian Loukmas, Vice President of Innovation for Monin.

Familiar fruit flavors such as watermelon, apple, and pear are also making a comeback, and are increasingly being featured in new beverages. These tried-and-true classics are relatively simple to add to an existing beverage, and there are a number of established formulas using these flavors that are readily available. This means that manufacturers don’t have to waste precious time and money trying to reinvent the wheel and can easily gauge the best way to utilize these flavors for a new beverage.

While it’s clear that fruit flavors are one of the biggest beverage trends at the moment, you should conduct market research to determine which fruit flavors will resonate best with your audience. Adding fruit-centered beverages to your product line is a solid choice for your brand that will help you earn a reputation as a business that swiftly meets the changing tastes and preferences of consumers.

Become a bottler with RC Cola for more advice on adding fruit flavors to your offerings. With decades of experience in beverage marketing, manufacturing, and bottling, we’d love to guide you in your search for the best way to introduce fruit flavoring to your brand’s beverages.

Get in touch with the RC Cola Team!