What Motivates Beverage Consumers

Ernie NeffMarketing


What motivates food and beverage consumers was the focus of two market research experts presenting virtually at the recent International Citrus & Beverage Conference (ICBC). The ICBC was hosted by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

One motivator is the desire to be stronger physically and emotionally, said Ed Koza, a senior marketing director with fragrance and taste company Firmenich. “They (consumers) will value functional food and drinks that support wellness for the body and mind,” he said. He added that globally, 42% of consumers would like to improve their immunity to disease, while 35% reported having higher stress and anxiety than they had before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consumers emerged from 2020, the first year of the pandemic in the United States, viewing resilience as a prized trait, Koza said.

Other consumer insights that Koza offered include the following:

  • Consumers want to know where their food and beverages come from.
  • Consumers want beverages that give them a new experience. They want beverages “with a story” and have gotten somewhat tired of so-called “comfort foods.” They seek “novelty” and put an emphasis on texture and smell.
  • The word “orange” evokes feelings of safety, trust, refreshment, happiness and energy in consumers. (A later ICBC presenter, Dave Lundahl, also used the words safety and trust. Lundahl, founder of behavioral marketing research firm InsightsNow, said safety is important to consumers, and that researchers have recently seen emergence of trust as a key behavior motivator.)
  • Fifty-eight percent of Gen Zs try to buy from companies that reflect their moral and ethical values. Generation Z is a term for those born from 1997 to 2012.

“Consumers expect to find ways to reduce their sugar intake while looking to natural and organics,” stated a slide Koza showed. It said 30% of consumers surveyed say they are reducing sugar intake, and 27% are eating more foods fortified with vitamins and minerals. Another 27% seek more natural and organic food items.

Lundahl reported that 28% of primary U.S. shoppers are “clean label enthusiasts” who look at ingredients on front and back labels of foods and beverages.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large

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