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Make Probiotic Drinks That Stand Out In The Functional Beverage Market

Make Probiotic Drinks illustration

Probiotic beverages are one of  the fastest growing categories in the functional drink market

The latest gut health research suggests why. 

Sales drinks containing prebiotics and probiotics increased 210% from April 2022 to April 2023 in the U.S., according to the market researcher SPINS.

There is increasing consumer demand for probiotic beverages made with natural, beneficial ingredients, particularly those that contribute to gut health.

Big name companies like Pepsi Co are even joining the trend — but there is still plenty of opportunity for beverage companies to manufacture standout probiotic drinks. 

“This is only going to get more and more diversified,” said Brandon Casteel, vice president of partnerships at SPINS. 

This article breaks down how to make probiotic drinks that stand out in the booming functional beverage market. 

What are Probiotic Drinks? 

Probiotics, often called "good bacteria," are living microorganisms that provide health benefits to the digestive and immune systems. 

These beneficial bacteria and yeasts are commonly found in fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, and in probiotic supplements. There is no shortage of probiotic drinks. 

Here are the most popular types of probiotic drinks on the functional beverage market in 2024. 

Dairy Probiotic Drinks

  • Kefir: Made with kefir grains, kefir is a fermented dairy drink known for its tangy flavor and diverse probiotic strains. It differs from yogurt in its preparation method and bacterial composition, offering unique benefits for digestion and immunity.

  • Drinkable Yogurt: Like kefir, drinkable yogurt provides probiotics in a convenient liquid form. It's a popular alternative to the tanginess of kefir.

Tea and Fruit-Based Probiotic Drinks 

  • Kombucha: This fermented tea beverage has gained popularity for its refreshing taste and probiotic content. Made with tea, sugar, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY), kombucha offers probiotic benefits without dairy, for lactose-intolerant individuals.

Fermented Grain and Vegetable Juices

  • Kvass: Originating from Slavic and Baltic cultures, kvass is a traditional fermented beverage made from grains, commonly rye bread. With its sour taste and probiotic properties, kvass provides a unique probiotic option beyond dairy and tea-based drinks.

  • Fermented Vegetable Juices:  Varieties like cabbage juice or beet juice offer probiotic benefits along with the nutritional advantages of their vegetable base.

Cultured Coconut Drinks

  • Coconut Kefir: Made with coconut water and kefir grains, it offers probiotic benefits in a tropical twist without dairy. 

Water-Based Probiotic Beverages

  • Water Kefir: Also known as tibicos, water kefir is a non-dairy fermented beverage made by culturing kefir grains in sugar water. It boasts a fizzy texture and can be flavored with fruits, herbs, or spices for added taste.

  • Probiotic-Infused Waters: These flavored waters are enhanced with probiotic strains, providing a convenient way to consume probiotics on the go. Ingredients like lemon juice, ginger, or apple cider vinegar are commonly added for flavor and health benefits.

Probiotic Drinks Market Outlook & Overview 

the probiotic drink market is growing

Probiotic drinks are on the rise internationally. 

This is attributed to rising consumer awareness regarding the importance of gut health and the benefits of consuming probiotics, which include anti-inflammatory properties, potentially alleviating conditions like IBS and IBD. 

Emerging research also suggests a connection between gut health and mental well-being, improving mood and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, probiotics may aid in weight management by influencing metabolism and fat storage.

According to Qualiket Market Research, the probiotic drinks market is expected to reach $31 billion by 2030. Consumers' growing interest in functional beverages, coupled with an increasing focus on preventive healthcare, has been a key driver of this growth. 

Major beverage companies, including PepsiCo, have recognized the potential of the probiotic drinks market and have been actively investing in product development and marketing strategies to capitalize on this trend. 

PepsiCo, for instance, introduced its probiotic drink called KeVita in 2016, which includes varieties like Sparkling Probiotic Drink and Master Brew Kombucha. 

In addition to PepsiCo, other beverage companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Danone, and Nestlé have also expanded their probiotic product offerings or acquired probiotic brands to strengthen their presence in this lucrative market segment.

Consumer preferences for probiotic drinks vary based on factors such as flavor, packaging format, and perceived health benefits. Manufacturers are responding by introducing innovative flavors, enhancing product formulations, and exploring sustainable packaging solutions to cater to diverse consumer needs and preferences.

Probiotic Drinks Target Audience 

The target audience for probiotic drinks covers a broad range of people, reflecting the growing interest in health and wellness among all consumers.

Here are the demographics most interested in probiotic drinks. 

Health-Conscious Individuals: This group includes individuals actively seeking products that support their overall well-being. They are likely to prioritize gut health and understand the benefits of incorporating probiotics into their diet.

Digestive Health Seekers: Consumers experiencing digestive issues such as bloating, gas, or irregular bowel movements are often interested in probiotic products. They may be looking for natural solutions to improve their digestive health and alleviate discomfort.

Fitness Enthusiasts: Athletes and fitness-conscious individuals recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy gut microbiome for optimal performance and recovery. Probiotic drinks offer a convenient way to support their active lifestyles.

Millennials and Gen Z: Younger consumers are increasingly health-conscious and are drawn to functional beverages that offer both nutritional benefits and unique flavors. Probiotic drinks fit this criteria. 

Individuals with Specific Dietary Preferences: With the rise of lactose intolerance and dairy-free diets, probiotic drinks made from non-dairy sources such as coconut milk or water appeal to individuals seeking dairy alternatives.

Those Seeking Natural Remedies: Consumers looking for natural remedies to support their immune system or alleviate symptoms of common ailments may turn to probiotic drinks as part of their wellness routine.

Urban Professionals: Busy individuals who prioritize convenience and on-the-go nutrition find probiotic drinks to be a convenient option for maintaining their health while managing a hectic lifestyle.

How to Make Probiotic Drinks

Understanding CFUs in Probiotic Drinks

CFUs (Colony Forming Units) are essential in probiotic drinks. They represent the live microorganisms in the product, indicating its potency. Higher CFU counts mean more probiotic activity, potentially boosting digestive and immune support.

To ensure effectiveness, aim for 1 billion to 10 billion CFUs per serving. Factors like strain specificity and formulation influence the ideal CFU level.

With that information, let’s look at how a probiotic drink is manufactured. 

Formulation Development: This involves selecting probiotic strains, determining the base liquid (e.g., dairy milk, coconut water, fruit juice), and adding complementary ingredients for flavor and nutrition that differentiate the drink on the market. 

Ingredient Sourcing: Prioritizing natural, high-quality ingredients is important because customers want health benefits from the probiotic drinks they consume.

When probiotic drinks use natural ingredients like fresh fruits, they provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These natural elements work together with probiotics to improve digestion, boost the immune system, and maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Unlike artificial flavors, natural ingredients are free from harmful chemicals.

A beverage manufacturing partner like BevNutra will source high-quality ingredients, ensuring they meet regulatory standards and align with your recipe specifications. They'll establish reliable supply chains for ingredients and packaging materials.

Production Process:  During the production of probiotic drinks, fermentation plays a crucial role in turning the base liquid—whether it's dairy milk, coconut water, or fruit juice—into a beverage rich in probiotics. 

Controlled fermentation conditions foster the growth of beneficial bacteria and yeasts, converting sugars into lactic acid and other compounds that contribute to the drink's unique flavor profile and probiotic content. 

This natural fermentation process not only boosts the drink's nutritional value but also encourages the growth of desirable probiotic strains. By ensuring optimal fermentation conditions, beverage manufacturers can craft probiotic drinks that offer both great taste and health benefits, appealing to consumers seeking natural, gut-friendly options.

Quality Assurance:  Probiotic drink quality assurance encompasses rigorous testing for CFU counts, microbial stability, and product consistency, all aimed at guaranteeing the safety and effectiveness as a functional beverage. 

Packaging and Labeling: Once the probiotic drink is produced, your manufacturing partner will help co-package. Packaging materials should preserve product freshness and integrity while complying with regulatory requirements for probiotic products.

Distribution: This involves coordinating with distributors, managing inventory, and shipping products to various locations.

With a reliable beverage manufacturing partner, like BevNutra,  you can streamline the process of producing probiotic drinks while ensuring quality, safety, and compliance with regulatory standards.

Find A Probiotic Drink Manufacturer

Drink Manufacturer formulation process

Discover how BevNutra can help you make probiotic drinks with a complimentary beverage manufacturing consultation. With us, you'll get expert guidance at every step, making the process easy to understand and navigate.

Our team knows how to ensure your probiotic drinks meet the highest standards. We'll help you choose the best ingredients and strains, making your drinks unique and delicious.

At BevNutra, we focus on quality and safety, so you can trust your drinks are top-notch. Partner with us to bring your probiotic beverages to market successfully, meeting consumer needs and growing your business.


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