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Three Growth Opportunities: Functional Beverages, Plant-Based Products & Men’s Personal Care

If ‘Knowledge is power,’ then understanding changing consumer preferences can help you grow your business. Here are three markets showing significant opportunities: functional drinks, plant-based protein alternatives, and men’s personal care products.

Quick hits:

  • Functional offerings are the latest consumer demand driving some of the biggest changes in the beverage market, as consumers look for beverages that can improve their daily health.
  • The market for plant-based protein alternatives is exploding, with plant-based foods growing 27% in 2020. If Impossible Foods’ experience is any indicator, much of that growth is coming at the expense of animal-derived meat.
  • Companies in the HBA and personal care space have a new and growing customer base: men. The market for men’s personal care products is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6% through 2027 to $75.8 billion, up from $47.5 billion in 2019.

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Hello, this is Anne Marie Mohan, Senior Editor of Packaging World magazine, with Take Five.

Recently, PMMI Media Group conducted a survey to learn what those who follow Packaging World are most interested in learning about. Scoring high was market trends, and, it’s no surprise. Understanding changing consumer preferences and behaviors can help your business stay ahead of the curve and to change course, if necessary. It can even help you expand into new markets that may be a good fit for your company.

With that in mind, here are three product categories that have shown impressive growth over the past couple of years.

The first is one that was identified in a recent PMMI Business Intelligence report on beverages. It’s a trend that’s been supported by other sources in the beverage industry—and that is, the growth of functional beverages. According to the report, 35% of consumers are turning to beverages as a way to incorporate functional ingredients into their diets. Among them are beverages that increase mental focus, called nootropics, and beverages that help balance physical body functions, such as prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics.

Functional beverages can include a range of product types, including dairy-based beverages, energy drinks, sports drinks, meal replacements, caffeinated beverages, and vegetable and fruit juices, among many others.

The market for functional beverages is forecast to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate, or CAGR, of 6.1% over the next five years.

Next on our list of markets experiencing major growth is the plant-based alternatives product market, which primarily includes plant-based dairy and plant-based meat products.

New data released in April of this year by the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and The Good Food Institute (GFI) shows that U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 27% in 2020, bringing the total plant-based market value to $7 billion. That’s almost twice as fast as the total U.S. retail food market, which increased 15% in 2020.

One of the fastest-growing companies in the alternative protein market is Impossible Foods, with its plant-based Impossible Burger. In 2020, the company experienced an astonishing 77-fold increase in the number of supermarkets and grocery stores in which it’s sold versus 2019. Currently 11,000 stores nationwide now sell the Impossible Burger. If you’re a producer of meat products, you might want to take note. According to analytics company Numerator, the vast majority of Impossible Foods’ sales come at the expense of animal-derived meat.

Looking to the future, a report from Meticulous Research estimates the global plant-based products market will grow at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2020 to 2027, to reach more than $74  billion by 2027.

And now I’d like to touch on a trend that should be of particular interest to those in the personal care and HBA space. According to a report issued in December 2020 by Grand View Research, the global men’s personal care market size is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6% through 2027, increasing from $47.5 billion in 2019 to $75.8 billion. In 2019, North America dominated the market, accounting for more than a 29% share of global revenue.   The fastest-growing product segment is expected to be personal grooming, with a CAGR of 6.3%. This includes products such as shaving cream, serum, beard grooming kits, and travel packs offered by mid-range and premium brands.

In 2019, e-commerce emerged as the fastest-growing distribution channel for this market and is expected to maintain its position through 2027. That makes sense, when you think about the wild popularity of brands such as Dollar Shave Club, hims, and Harry’s.

Driving the growth of the men’s personal care market, the report notes, is an increase in concerns related to health, body-image, self-grooming, and hygiene by male consumers. The report adds, “From male skincare, makeup to manscaping, the market is a plethora of opportunities, with many new brands penetrating and aiming to change the way men are marketed to, and increased usage of personal care products will likely drive the market.”

That’s all for this edition of Take Five with Packaging World. Make sure to visit to learn about other growing markets and consumer trends.

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