The masters of thirst-quenching

By: Budai Klára Date: 2020. 10. 16. 10:56

The functional drink category had been growing and strengthening before it suffered a blow because of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020. There was one exception though, the segment of weight loss drinks. Luckily the sales results of the summer months gave hope to functional drink companies.

Palkó András- Coca-Cola

András Palkó
marketing operations manager
Coca-Cola HBC

According to András Palkó, marketing operations manager of Coca-Cola HBC Magyarország, volume sales of functional drinks increased in 2019. As for value sales, plant-based drink sales augmented by 15-percent and sports drinks sales performed 14 percent better. The company entered the former category with the Adez range two years ago, and they are present in the latter with the Powerade brand.

Van der Wildt Nikolett-Szentkirályi

Nikolett Van der Wildt
marketing manager

Nikolett van der Wildt, marketing manager of Szentkirályi Magyarország said it is important for more and more consumers to enjoy tasty soft drinks with an added value. She believes that sales will grow again after the pandemic, as being healthy became even more important for consumers in the last few months. One of the company’s innovations this year is Magnesia RED, which has performed better than expected so far, despite the coronavirus pandemic. The natural mineral water-based product is available in four different fruit flavours, it has high magnesium content, there is vitamin B in it and it is made without preservatives or sweeteners. Another popular functional drink distributed by Szentkirályi Magyarország is still isotonic sports drink Gatorade (in Hungary it is available in Cool Blue, Orange, Lemon and Blackcurrant variants) – sales were up 5 percent in 2019.

The market came back to life slowly

Birven Eszter - Gramex

Eszter Birven
export and
marketing director
Gramex Drinks

Gramex Drinks experienced a big sales decline in the first half of the year. Export and marketing director Eszter Birven told Trade magazin that life returned to normal only slowly. The company‘s expectation is that at best they will realise 80 percent of last year’s record sales performance in 2020.

Horváth András-Weider

András Horváth
head of Hungarian representation

This year started very well for the Weider brand, but the fitness industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences – informed András Horváth, the head of Weider’s Hungarian representation.

Attila Kaszás, managing director of Viwa product Europa Kft. spoke to Trade magazin about shoppers becoming more health-conscious and the fruits of their 7-year brand-building work – today basically every health-conscious shopper are familiar with the Viwa brand name. The only segment where there was no major sales drip was weight loss shakes.


Handl Tamara - Turbo-Diéta

Tamara Handl
marketing manager

Tamara Handl, marketing manager of Idealbody Kft. revealed that by the end of the lockdown many people realised that they had put on a few kilograms, so demand increased for Turbó Diéta products. Sales practically returned to normal by May.

More products available on more platforms

Kaszás Attila - Viwa

Attila Kaszás
MD, Viwa product Europa

Attila Kaszás opines that shoppers still like practical small-size products more. They want to choose from a large product selection, more ‘functions’ and demand a good taste. He said that functional drinks are available in more retail channels than before, e.g. drugstores, super- and hypermarkets.

Ervin Nagy, managing director and owner of R-Water Kft. reckons that functional drinks with a simpler composition meet consumer needs more than complex products. His view is that good taste and large size matter the most.

Idealbody Kft.’s experience is different from this: a good taste is key with weight loss shakes too, but consumers also care about product ingredients and some of them have special needs too. This is why the new summer flavour from Turbó Diéta, coconut shake is lactose- and gluten-free – revealed Tamara Handl.

András Palkó explained to us that Coca-Cola HBC Magyarország’s Aquarius functional water contains added mineral and vitamins. He added that from sales channels discounters are expanding in functional drink sales, while hyper- and supermarkets are losing market.

Special functions tailored to shopper needs and consumption occasions

Nikolett van der Wildt spoke to our magazine about the merger of different categories, for instance, skincare and immune system strengthening soft drinks, mineral waters and teas are increasingly popular. In the sports drink segment, the packaging must be in line with an active user lifestyle, so Gatorade products are only available in 0.5-litre sports cap packaging. Eszter Birven said most consumers know which sports drink to have with which sport. Gramex Drinks’ most popular product lines are 0.7-litre Vitalade and 1-litre Viatalade XL products. It seems that demand is on the rise for 1-litre functional drinks. This year the company wanted to add a fourth flavour to forest fruits, cactus fig and carambola, but they had to postpone it to 2021 because of the pandemic.

Szomjoltás mesterfokon-funkcionális italok

Considering that health-consciousness has recently gained importance, the functional drinks’ market may remain on a development trajectory

A new market player in the category

Szentkirályi Magyarország has found that functional drink buyers are open to trying new products, so many innovations are launched in the category. The company was relying on this openness when putting the Magnesia RED range on the market, which is very popular not only with consumers but retailer partners as well. Next year new Magnesia RED flavours and formats will be introduced to the market. Coca-Cola HBC Magyarország entered the functional drink market with Aquarius this year. At the moment the product is available in two sizes, in lemon and blood orange flavours – the former contains added zinc, while the latter has magnesium in it. As for the company’s Adez products, a new granola variant has hit the shops recently, which contains added protein.

Szomjoltás mesterfokon - funkcionális italok

Plant-based and sports drinks underwent a double-digit growth in turnover in 2019

Consumer needs shape the innovation directions

The buyers of WEIDER products show growing demand for the functionality of drinks, therefore the company keeps introducing new products to the portfolio. András Horváth told: besides L-Carnitine containing and energy drinks, they now also offer products with amino acid and mineral content. Viwa product Europa Kft.’s first new product in 2020 was inulin-enhanced vitamin water Coco-Fiber. More new innovations can be expected from the company this year – revealed Attila Kaszás. On average R-Water Kft. puts 5-15 new products on the market per year. They develop new products based on their own experiences and consumer feedback. Their Collagen and AminoMix products illustrate the first strategy, while the Magnesium+B6 and CBD products are good examples of the second method – told Ervin Nagy.

This year Gramex Drinks is putting a new one-litre category on the market: VitaBeauty – strawberry, VitaPower – cranberry and VitaChill – lemon balm and lime aren’t only sugar-free but also have lots of minerals and vitamins in them – in addition to being very tasty. What is more, the 0.7-lite L-Carnitine range gets a brand new design. In 2020 Idealbody Kft. debuted with single-serve packaging design and they also made new Turbó Diéta flavours available: limited edition salted caramel returned and a new summer flavour, coconut made its debut. //

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