Hard seltzer in glasses with citrus slices

Businesses can capitalize on new opportunities by offering products that cater to evolving consumer preferences.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the latest trends in hard seltzers and what is driving them, and why they matter for manufacturers, so you can create a sensational new beverage that wins fans, gets shared on social and spreads through word of mouth. 

Hard Seltzers are Ripe for Flavor Innovation & Increased Variety 

Hard seltzer drinkers are looking for more options. This enthusiastic crowd has shown they are seeking novel and unique experiences in their food and beverages. New types of drinks, such as CBD-infused or hop waters, are emerging and are a direct result of this demand for innovative products. As millennials stay on center stage and the Gen Z segment comes of age, exposure to a wider range of products through social media and increasing competition among manufacturers have also contributed to this desire for more choices.  

Therefore, beverage makers offering creative and wide-ranging flavors and ingredient combinations secure an advantage over those who don’t. Utilizing natural extracts and flavors can help you stand out in a crowded market by providing a diverse range of fresh fruit, herb and spice flavors, allowing for the creation of delicious and one-of-a-kind hard seltzers that appeal to adventurous consumers seeking refreshing alternatives.

Consumers Perceive Hard Seltzers as a More Healthful Option

The focus on health and wellness has led to increased demand for low-calorie, gluten-free and organic ingredients in the hard seltzer segment. The trends of “mindful drinking” and moderation address concern over the health implications of empty-calorie drinks and alcohol consumption, resulting in the popularity of functional beverages and NA seltzers. 

By using natural extracts and high-quality botanical blends, you can create a product that is not only delicious but also perceived as healthier , made from ingredients sourced directly from nature. Additionally, by offering beverages that are low in calories and sugar, are non-alcoholic or provide  perceived functional benefits, manufacturers can appeal to consumers who are looking for more purposeful drinking options that fit into their healthier lifestyles.

Sustainable Hard Seltzer Ingredients Align with Consumer Interests

We all know that more and more consumers are concerned about the environment and sustainability, and they are looking for products that align with those values. What’s more, regulatory bodies are stepping up the pressure on manufacturers to adopt more sustainable practices. 

To address these trends and challenges, hard seltzer makers can focus on using sustainable ingredients and packaging in their products. By using natural flavors and extracts, you can reduce the impact on the environment and appeal to consumers seeking eco-friendly and sustainable options.  

Variable Alcohol Content Offers Broader Appeal

From NA to full strength, with many steps in between, hard seltzers have expanded to include options with higher and lower ABVs, driven by the growing demand for hard seltzers that cater to specific health goals or that pair well with certain activities.

By offering lower alcohol options, you appeal to a wider audience and attract consumers who are concerned about the health or safety effects of higher alcohol drinks. Natural flavor extracts can be added to any NA or reduced alcohol seltzer to elevate the flavor profile while also providing the taste of full-strength alcoholic beverages if so desired. And our application specialists in hard seltzers and non-alcoholic beer can help you perfect the ABV and entire sensory experience of your low-to-no alcohol drinks.   

Collaboration with Popular Brands & Influencers Opens Up New Audiences for Hard Seltzers

Partnerships with relevant brands and celebrities have been taking off in the hard seltzer space. By leveraging the creativity and organic market penetration of very-online brands and social personalities, you can create unique and exclusive products that are likely to be accepted as authentic by an already established consumer base.  

Flavors created from natural extracts lend themselves well to this trend as they offer endless opportunities for flavor customization while remaining grounded in naturally sourced ingredients. Brands & influencers can help shape a product they enjoy and can feel good about getting behind, while further differentiating what your products and your brand mean to consumers.

Premiumization as an Approachable Indulgence

Finally, many are using hard seltzers to responsibly indulge in affordable luxury as part of the “treat yourself” trend. They’re willing to pay more for high-quality  ingredients if they offer exceptional taste and also perceived to positively impact their health and the environment.

Possibilities exist to position your brand as the premium, authentic and sustainable choice that also delivers exciting new sensations. All of that culminates in beverages that modern consumers will find appealing, and they’ll be eager to pay for the privilege of the experience.           

Adapt These Trends to Your Beverage Portfolio

These trends are shaping the hard seltzer market and providing new opportunities for manufacturers to innovate and differentiate themselves in the market. By utilizing natural extract flavors, beverage producers can stay ahead of the curve and ensure their products stand out from the crowd while still appealing to a wide range of consumers.

Connect with our support team to talk about solutions for your specific hard seltzer application.