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BENEO consumer research highlights most popular health benefits in Spanish functional drinks

July 2010 - Consumer research from BENEO has shown that there are three key health benefits that Spanish consumers look for when buying functional drinks. As the third largest market of functional drinks in Europe1, opportunities abound for those drink manufacturers looking to build these benefits into their products in 2010 and beyond.
The qualitative research by BENEO allowed for time to be spent asking Spanish consumers what health benefits they found most appealing in functional drinks.  Energy, wellness and sports drink (both for serious and casual athletes) users were covered within four focus groups and Dr. Christian Niederauer, Market Research Manager, BENEO-Palatinit was able to conclude: “Although the focus groups were held at a variety of times and with different target groups, the feedback was unanimous - mental alertness as well as prolonged and balanced energy were the benefits most required from Spanish consumers’ functional drinks.”
Through discussion, it became obvious that Spanish consumers choose energy drinks primarily to increase mental alertness and they are particularly drunk as a ‘going-out’ drink, often combined with alcohol.  As would be expected, sports drinks are used for replenishment of energy lost during exercise. A key factor in the choice of product is its taste and whether it delivers a constant energy level, rather than a ‘boost and crash effect’. 
BENEO’s functional carbohydrate Palatinose™ (isomaltulose) was covered during the research process; Dr. Christian Niederauer commented: “We received very positive results regarding the appeal and understanding of the characteristics demonstrated by Palatinose™. However, the fact that one single ingredient combines all of the desired benefits required of a functional beverage, naturally gives a too-good-to-be-true impression.”
Against the background that credibility was high on the list of concerns, the question of scientific substantiation was considered highly important to the majority of respondents.  Interestingly, once consumers could see the credentials and benefits of Palatinose™, they were prepared to pay higher prices for any product containing it.
This latest consumer research from BENEO is just another example of the company’s commitment to invest in consumer research to best support existing and potential partners.  The results of the Spanish research show that there is potential to create and market exciting products, as long as consumers understand, trust and want the added value messaging being communicated.  
The commercial opportunity BENEO’s consumer research represents is reinforced still further by a recent report from Euromonitor2 on the Spanish soft drinks sector, which shows that: “The trend towards healthy products will continue, with those brands which manage the balance between health and pleasure performing better than the rest.  Consumers are looking for guilt-free products, capable of delivering a pleasurable experience, but at the same time delivering benefits and added value linked with health.”
1Euromonitor, ‘Soft Drinks’ 2010
2Euromonitor, ‘Soft Drinks in Spain’, March 2010

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