Functional Ingredients in Beverages

Functional Ingredients in Beverages


As consumer preferences for health benefits and convenience increase, the demand for functional ingredients in beverages is also growing. Active ingredients are those added to drinks for their health claims and can range from natural herbs and vitamins to probiotics.

In the UK, manufacturers are increasingly including beneficial ingredients such as plant-based proteins, adaptogenic botanicals and superfoods in their product lines. From coffee and tea to carbonated beverages, functional ingredients are now being used in drinks of all types.

What are Functional Ingredients?

Functional ingredients are those added for their health advantages, such as vitamins, minerals, herbs and adaptogens. They can provide a range of benefits, including improved energy and focus, reduced stress and fatigue and enhanced hydration.

By incorporating functional ingredients into beverages, manufacturers can create products that offer consumers increased health advantages without compromising on taste or convenience.

The Functional Beverage Market

The global functional beverages market in 2021 was estimated at US$ 129.31 billion and is expected to reach around US$ 279.4 billion by 2030.

In the UK alone, the functional beverage market is worth over £ 1.4 billion, with the energy drinks sector experiencing accelerated growth thanks to increasing demand for natural ingredients and health-boosting benefits.

From weight management to on-the-go energy, functional beverages are more popular than ever as consumers become increasingly conscious of their health.

Health Claim Examples of Functional Ingredients

Functional beverages can deliver on a range of health claims, including:

  1. Improved energy and focus

  2. Reduced stress and fatigue

  3. Enhanced hydration

  4. Improved digestion and immunity

  5. Increased muscle mass and stamina

Here are some examples:

B Vitamins

Adding B vitamins to drinks can help boost energy levels, improve concentration and reduce stress.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that helps to protect against disease, reduce inflammation and boost immunity


Electrolytes are added to beverages to replace electrolytes lost through sweat, aiding in hydration.

Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea and Turmeric have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. They can help the body cope with physical and psychological stress while increasing energy and focus.


Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion by restoring balance to the gut microbiota and supporting digestive health. They may also help reduce inflammation and boost immunity.

Plant-Based Proteins

Including plant-based proteins such as pumpkin seed protein and pea protein can help increase muscle mass, improve stamina and reduce fatigue.

Categories of Functional Beverages

Incorporating functional benefits into drinks is a great way to bring additional value to products. By harnessing the power of natural ingredients, beverage producers such as brewers, distilleries and juice manufacturers can create products that offer consumers various health benefits without compromising on taste or convenience.

Moreover, the functional beverage market is forecast to grow further, with more consumers turning to these drinks as healthier alternatives to sugary, alcoholic or artificially flavoured drinks. For manufacturers looking to capitalise on this trend, now is the time to start exploring the potential of functional ingredients in their products.

With the right mix of quality ingredients and innovative product development, there is great potential to create the next generation of functional beverages.

Categories for functional beverages include:

Energy drinks

Functional energy drinks are becoming increasingly popular amongst consumers seeking natural energy boosts. Common ingredients include B vitamins, adaptogenic herbs, guarana and green tea extract.

Sports products

Sports drinks are designed to help athletes improve performance and endurance by providing essential electrolytes for hydration. They may also contain plant-based proteins and slow-release carbohydrates.

Functional Waters

Functional waters contain beneficial ingredients such as probiotics, electrolytes and antioxidants. They are a low-calorie option for those looking for an easy way to get their daily dose of essential nutrients.

Dairy Alternative Beverages

Dairy alternative beverages are becoming increasingly popular due to their health benefits and taste. They can be fortified with functional ingredients such as B vitamins, calcium, probiotics and plant-based proteins to support various health goals.

Ready-to-Drink Teas

Ready-to-drink teas are a convenient way to get your daily dose of antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients. They may contain green tea extract, natural herbs, fruit extracts and other functional ingredients that may help boost energy levels or improve digestion.


Coffee can be enhanced with functional ingredients such as adaptogenic herbs, magnesium and ashwagandha to reduce stress levels, improve mental clarity and increase focus.


Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains beneficial probiotics, B vitamins and active enzymes. It is an effective way to improve digestion and support a healthy immune system.

By capitalising on the potential of functional beverages, beverage manufacturers can tap into the growing demand for healthier drinks while offering consumers a range of additional benefits. With this in mind, now is the time for producers to start exploring the potential of incorporating functional ingredients into their products.


Functional ingredients are becoming increasingly popular in drinks for their health benefits. From energy drinks to sports products and functional waters, there is now a wealth of options available to UK consumers looking for natural ways to improve their health and well-being.

In addition to providing numerous health benefits, these functional beverages also offer convenience and taste – making them an attractive alternative to more traditional beverages. As the market continues to grow, we can expect to see a wider variety of functional beverage products on the market in the near future.

At Uren, we understand the potential of functional ingredients and are committed to helping manufacturers create innovative products that offer consumers real health benefits. Get in touch today for more information.