Thanks to a growing consumer base interested in nutritionally beneficial drinks, functional beverage launches are on the rise. From functional hydration to herbal elixirs, consumers are placing more emphasis on quenching their thirst with purpose. Within the functional drink category, antioxidants are one of the fastest growing claims on product labels, as brands try to appeal to consumers with a naturally healthy message.

So, what exactly are antioxidants? Antioxidants are artificial or natural substances that help protect your body’s cells from free radical damage. Basically, antioxidants reduce cell damage by removing waste. The benefits of including antioxidants into your diet can range from improved cardiovascular health to increased cognition. Some of the biggest sources of antioxidants include mango, watermelon, apple, pineapple and grapes.

According to Innova Market Insights, product launches with antioxidant claims showed an average annual growth of 16% from 2012 to 2016. Of these product launches, grocers are seeing a variety of antioxidant infused sodas, energy drinks, teas, and juices hitting shelves. As of 2017, Innova reported that 25% of all new product launches with an antioxidant claim were soft drinks. Hot drinks, another top category for the claim, made up 15% of product launches claiming antioxidant inclusion.

Where will the category go as we move into 2020? A report published by FAST.MR, titled, “Antioxidants Market” expects the category to grow at a rate of 8.5% between 2019 and 2024. The future looks bright for functional beverages so long as consumers continue to take an interest in reaping benefits beyond simple hydration from their beverages.