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Beverage Development in 5 Steps

bottles representing beverage development

It's a good time to get into beverage development.

The market is on your side. The global beverage industry is valued at nearly $2 trillion.

The downside to the robust market is that competition is fierce. Before introducing a new beverage product into a competitive market, it is vital to understand the inner workings of the beverage development industry to create the most viable product.

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know what to expect when developing a beverage that will stand out from the sea of drink brands on the market.


Understanding The Beverage Industry

The first step for developing a beverage product is researching consumer drink trends.

Consumer tastes are shifting and it's changing the beverage industry. Functional beverages, such as probiotic drinks, are a new trend that will last a long time.

Of course, a hot market doesn’t always translate to a desirable product. However, understanding the changing consumer beverage consumption trends helps new beverage brands break into the crowded market with a product that people want to buy.


Step Two: Choosing Your Beverage Category

Choosing a beverage category focuses saves time and money on beverage research and development (R&D).

Beverage R&D is the process of researching, developing, and testing new beverage concepts — or improving existing ones. The goal is to find the right combination of flavors and ingredients that differentiate your drink idea from others on the market.

  • Juices: These beverages are made from the extraction or pressing of natural liquid from fruits or vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen, or concentrated, and often come in a variety of flavors.  

  • Sodas: Also known as soft drinks or carbonated beverages, these are flavored drinks that contain carbon dioxide gas, creating bubbles. They come in a wide array of flavors, from cola and root beer to fruit punch and ginger ale.

  • Energy drinks: These beverages are designed to provide a quick boost of energy, usually through caffeine and other stimulants. They are popular among students, athletes, and those who need a pick-me-up.

  • Functional health drinks: These drinks offer specific health benefits beyond basic hydration or nutrition. This can include added vitamins, minerals, probiotics, or other ingredients that support overall well-being. Examples include kombucha, sports drinks, and fortified water.

  • Sparkling waters: Also known as carbonated water or seltzer, these are plain or flavored water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas. They are a popular alternative to sugary sodas and often come in a variety of flavors, both natural and artificial.

  • Alcoholic beverages: These drinks contain ethanol, a type of alcohol produced by the fermentation of grains, fruits, or other sources of sugar. They range from beer and wine to spirits like vodka, whiskey, and rum.

  • Dairy-based drinks: These beverages are made from milk or milk products, such as cow's milk, goat's milk, or plant-based alternatives like almond milk or soy milk. They can be plain, flavored, or fortified with vitamins.

  • Plant-based drinks: These beverages are made from plants like nuts, seeds, grains, or legumes. They are often used as milk substitutes and come in various flavors and formulations.

  • Coffee and tea: These are hot beverages made from brewed coffee beans or tea leaves. They are popular worldwide.

  • Ready To Drink (R2D): Think pre-mixed drinks, such as cocktails, iced teas, coffees, and specialty beverages, often sold in single-serving containers.


Step Three: Collaboration & Formulation

Once you have a concept for your beverage in place, the next step is to collaborate with a beverage developer to bring your vision to market.

The beverage industry is complex. Having a trusted partner ensures your drink tastes great, is functional, and is produced with top-quality ingredients.

For example, some product development companies will hand over a formula without telling you exactly what ingredients comprise your blend, which means you won’t know the secret sauce in your own beverage.

Knowing your proprietary formula gives you a better understanding of your product in the marketplace — a must for a competitive advantage. Choose a beverage manufacturer, like BevNutra, that gives you sole ownership of your custom blend.

Here are a few more topics a qualified beverage development partner should be able to navigate.

● Formulation & Process Questions

● Ingredient Sourcing

● Shelf Life Testing

● Choosing Between Private Label Or White Label Custom Formulations.

Looking for a beverage development partner who has a deep understanding of these must-know insights? With two decades of industry experience, BevNutra Solutions brings product concepts to life by collaborating with you every step of the way.

Book your complimentary beverage development consultation.


Step Four: Formulation

This isn't just about taste—it's about manufacturing a beverage that's shelf-stable, meets regulatory requirements, and can be produced consistently at scale.

 Beverage formulation is the process of developing this recipe.

Here's what goes into crafting a profitable beverage formulation:

Select Beverage Ingredients:

  • Quality: Source the best drink ingredients you can afford. Remember, quality inputs equal quality outputs. Pro tip: source ingredients that are readily available. Running out stops production instantly — even if demand is high. 

  • Functionality: Consider the functional properties of each ingredient. How will they interact with each other? How will they affect the final product's taste, texture, and stability? 

  • Cost: Balance quality with cost. Premium ingredients might boost your product's appeal, but they need to fit within your budget for manufacturing to continue. 

Drink Flavor Profile:

  • Target Audience: Who are you making this drink for? What flavors will appeal to them? See the beverage market overview above for insights. 

  • Trends: Stay on top of beverage trends. Are there new flavors or combinations you can incorporate?

  • Uniqueness: What sets your beverage apart from the competition? Is it a unique flavor profile, a specific ingredient, or a combination of both?

Shelf Stability:

  • Preservation: Choose preservation methods that maintain your beverage's flavor and nutritional value. Consider natural options like ascorbic acid or rosemary extract.

  • Packaging: Select packaging that protects your product from light, oxygen, and other factors that can degrade its quality.

Regulatory Compliance:

  • Labeling:Your labels must comply with all relevant third-party regulations, including nutritional information, allergen warnings, and ingredient lists.

  • Safety: Conduct thorough testing to ensure your beverage is safe for consumption.

  • Intellectual Property: Protect your proprietary formula with patents or trademarks.


  • Pilot Production: Test your formulation on a small scale to identify potential issues and ensure it can be produced consistently.

  • Ingredient Availability: One of the biggest mistakes in beverage manufacturing is not having reliable sources for your ingredients, especially if you plan to scale. 

Beverage Formulation Expertise

Formulating a beverage is a complex process that requires scientific knowledge and a creative touch. If you don't have the expertise in-house, partner with a beverage development consultant like BevNutra who can handle the manufacturing process. 


Step Five: Find A Co-Packer & Product Launch

Co-packing allows you to accelerate production without the massive capital investment of building or expanding your own facility. Here are the benefits of co-packing.


Advantages Of Co-Packing 

  • No Capital Investment: Avoid the hefty costs of building or expanding your own production facility. Co-packers already have the infrastructure in place.

  • Expertise: Tap into a co-packer's experience and knowledge. They've likely worked with a variety of beverages and can offer valuable insights and efficiencies.

  • Specialized Equipment: Many co-packers have state-of-the-art equipment that you might not be able to afford or justify for your own production.

  • Agility & Flexibility: Need to ramp up production quickly to meet a surge in demand? Co-packers can handle it. Need to scale back? They can do that too.

  • Focus on Your Strengths: Let the co-packer handle the production nitty-gritty while you focus on what you do best – marketing, sales, and innovation.

Choosing Your Co-Packing Partner

The right co-packer is a partnership, not just a transaction. Here's what to look for:

  • Relevant Experience: Choose a co-packer with experience in your specific beverage category. Do they understand the unique challenges and nuances of your product?

  • Certifications: Ensure they have the necessary certifications (e.g., HACCP, GMP, SQF) to meet quality and safety standards.

  • Capacity: Can they handle your current and projected production volume? Do they have room for growth if your brand takes off?

  • Communication & Collaboration: A successful co-packing relationship is built on open communication and mutual trust. Choose a partner who is transparent, responsive, and willing to work collaboratively.

Co-packing is a strategic beverage manufacturing move. It lets you scale up production, access expertise and resources, and focus on building your brand. 


Beverage Development Partner

From the initial concept and formulation to the moment it reaches a consumer's lips, every step creates something exceptional.

If you're looking for expert guidance and support in any of these areas, contact BevNutra for a complimentary beverage manufacturing consultation


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