With the consumers’ demand changing every year, the beverage industry is pushed to find new ingredients. A great opportunity is for startups who look to innovate, knowing how to explore new taste experiences and natural functions.
Every year, a new trend reaches the market, forcing companies to adapt to the customers’ demands. With so many options available in the shelves, it is a challenge to stand out and create something new. Not so long ago, the European beverage market was still dominated by a few huge players from the international industry. The consumer could mostly only find lemonades, energy drinks and ice teas in the shelves. Beverage startups were still hard to find. They were more underground, mostly restricted to the big cities, like Berlin, in small stores and cafés.
In more recent years, the beverage market in Germany started to look different. New beverage companies such as “fritz-kola” and “true fruits”, based in Hamburg and Bonn respectively, consolidated themselves in the market, opening the doors for new drinks and more variety of tastes and products. With a growing demand for new and innovative products and the “startup trend” coming all the way over the USA, the beverage industry had to welcome the new players.
Created in 2012, tpxdrinks is specialized in customized beverage development. The brand is part of tropextrakt, company with 20 years of experience in the beverage industry. Based in Frankfurt-Germany, they sell and explore the applications of exotic fruits, giving all necessary support to companies and individuals who look to develop innovative drinks with new taste experiences and unique recipes.
With great trends comes great demand
The demand for beverage development services in Germany has increased. Startups and individuals want to create their own drinks, experiment new recipes and introduce innovative concepts and tastes to the beverage market. While many companies have only recently opened to supply this market, others have adapted, carrying more than 20 years of experience in the beverage industry.
“It all started with the idea to show our big industry customers application examples of our ingredients”. It is what Jacqueline Palm, Head of Beverage Development at tpxdrinks, says when asked how the company started. In 2012, tropextrakt, father-company of tpxdrinks, was already active in the market of import and distribution of exotic ingredients for 10 years. However, the European food and beverage industry was not yet so familiarized with the vast flavor range of Latin America and Asian ingredients. For this reason, they created their “Idea Lab”.
By creating soft drinks, smoothies, jams, and other applications with their own portfolio of exotic fruit juices, purees, and powders, the company could exemplify the application possibilities of their natural raw materials to their clients. Mate tea extracts and functional extracts like guarana and acerola were used to present new concepts. The first drink ideas and beverage formulas sparkled in the company the desire to expand their portfolio of specialty concepts – and tpxdrinks was born.
Since then, they already accompanied almost 300 customers on their journey from the idea to the final product. Every year, new startups from all over the world look for their service, pushing the company to always address new trends with new ideas. “With our large portfolio of exotic raw ingredients, we can create an infinite number of new flavors for the beverage market”, states miss Palm.
The trend for Beverage Startups in 2023
Low Calorie in 2016, BCAA/EAA Sport Drinks in 2017, Hard Seltzer in 2020, Ice Teas in 2021… the years pass, and the drinks transform with them. But what is the next trend in beverage? “Right now, we are developing a lot of functional beverages with a high fiber content. I am pretty sure you will see this trend next year in the European supermarkets”, bets miss Palm.
Jaqueline adds that she is waiting for an opportunity to explore the use of Butterfly Pea Tea to develop “funk lemonades and ice teas”. The exotic plant is a flower that gives a wonderful natural blue color to products. Even though it is used in Asian restaurants and cocktail bars, in the EU the ingredient can only be applied in liquid food supplements. It takes time until new food products pass all the legislations, but tropextrakt is working on solutions.
Sustainable packaging and other environmental topics are also a growing trend that impacts – and changes – the beverage industry. The Beverage Developers from tpxdrinks support clients not only with ideas and recipes, but also helps to find the best options for labelling, bottling, filling, and packaging.
Starting a beverage company: Creative and economic challenges
Some great beverage ideas are born in people’s own kitchens. They experiment recipes at home and reach out to beverage development companies already knowing exactly the taste they want. However, many promising startups only have a vague idea and are looking for experts to guide them through the process of creating their own drink.
With an all-around consulting service, anyone can develop their own beverage. The tpxdrinks team supports clients starting their own beverage business since the first steps. Ideas and concepts are created and refined together, followed by rounds of sampling and tasting with specialists, until the perfect recipe is found. Big companies can also take advantage of tpxdrinks expertise and their ideas for beverage concepts.
The current challenge for starters is the rising overall production costs. Individuals and small companies need to evaluate all the necessary investments to make a low-cost beverage. Not only for the ingredients itself, but also for packaging, especially glass and aluminium.