2024’s Beverage Standouts at Expo West and The Vitamin Shoppe

2024’s Beverage Standouts at Expo West and The Vitamin Shoppe

2024 Functional Beverage Trends

The 2024 Expo season has come and gone, with trips to the Arnold Sports Festival, Natural Products Expo West, and the Vitamin Shoppe’s Brand Summit, and we saw some incredible new supplement launches.

But the main trend that’s been impossible to ignore is the continued emergence of functional beverages in our market.

At each show, we were given a different glimpse at the present and future of energy drinks and beyond. We found some diamonds in the rough, as well as some products that we hope to never try again. Let’s recap what we saw and tease what we’ll be doing next:

2024’s Functional Beverage Standouts

Here are some of the most interesting drink innovations in 2024:

  • Karma Wellness Energy Water

    Karma Energy Water

    Karma Energy Water features 150 milligrams of natural caffeine and 250 milligrams of Cognizin® Citicoline! Thank you to Kyowa Hakko USA, the sponsor of this article

    Coming into Expo West, we were already excited about Karma Wellness Energy Water, which is analyzed in the article linked above.

    It sports a blend of ingredients that include 150 milligrams of natural caffeine and a clinically-backed dose of 250 milligrams of Cognizin® citicoline. With that profile, we already knew it’d feel good and that we could drop by the Kyowa Hakko USA booth to grab one to get through the show.

    What we didn’t know is how good the Blueberry Watermelon flavor would taste! It was a perfect combination of the two flavors, satisfying right to the end.

    It was also great to see their patented push cap in action. This is a cap that you push down on, forcing the active ingredients into the bottle, so that they’re mixed into the beverage right when you want to drink it.

  • Pickle Juice?!

    Pickle Juice Drink

    It’s not pickle brine, but it is a combination of vinegar, electrolytes, dill oil, and other flavors to make a product trademarked “Pickle Juice”!

    Some of the best laughs came from the bottom floor of Expo West, where we were introduced to this Pickle Juice drink. It’s made by a company that trademarked “Pickle Juice”, but didn’t use what we normally think of as “pickle juice” in the beverage. They argued, after all, that you don’t actually juice a pickle to make the drink (it’s really brine), so traditional pickle juice isn’t juice anyway.

    Well if you’re still following, it’s an electrolyte beverage made with zero sugar, instead relying on water, organic vinegar, salt, and organic dill oil to make it happen. And it indeed does taste like pickle brine!

    With a taste profile like that, you’re either going to love it or hate it, and if you look at the reviews on Amazon, currently with a 4.5 rating after over 13,000 reviews… most people indeed love it! After all, if you don’t like pickle brine taste, you’re probably not going to buy it anyway. So this was definitely an interesting one.

  • Drink Weird: The Grateful Dead Collab

    In our corner of the world, we’ve seen some incredible flavor collabs in energy drinks, and have been patiently waiting for an Iron Maiden collaboration (they already have a beer, after all). But guess what other legendary musical group beat them to the punch — The Grateful Dead!

    Drink Weird Yerba Grateful Dead

    Drink Weird’s collaboration with the Grateful Dead may not fit within our world of sports and active nutrition, but it’s a perfect fit for their brand!

    Drink Weird has a 2024 lineup of “Weird” drinks, including Weird Yerba, Weird Tea, and Weird Water. This menu features beverage cans that live up to their names, most of them with three-eyed creatures on the front (yet some creatures have even more eyes).

    It’s the naturally-caffeinated Weird Yerba that has the famous Grateful Dead Dancing Bears on it, in flavors such as “Grateful Grapefruit”. Definitely a cool vibe for the right customer — each can has 160 milligrams of caffeine per can.

    This leads us into the next theme:

  • The Success of Lower-Caffeine Energy Drinks with Natural Caffeine

    As users consume more beverages, they’re finding that they need to reduce the load of caffeine in each one, and ingredients like Cognizin® make that happen.

    Bum Energy Drink

    Chris Bumstead’s Bum Energy Drink has an even-keeled 112 milligrams of natural caffeine and 250 milligrams of Cognizin.

    The days of VPX BANG dominating the stage with their 300 milligrams of caffeine seem to be coming to an end, and we’re now seeing quite a few successful drinks bringing it back to 200 milligrams or less:

    You can also note that they all have natural caffeine too.

    So does this mean people are drinking less caffeine? Maybe. But more likely, they’re drinking more energy drinks, and with these lower caffeine doses, you have two per day, which can get you to the 500 milligram Cognizin dosage, providing even greater scientific backing!

    Cognizin Citicoline: The Brain Choline

    Cognizin® Citicoline is dubbed the The Brain Choline not just because it provides choline, but because it also supplies cytidine, which is also needed for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine

    For instance, a 2021 study found that Cognizin citicoline improves memory in older adults, and in that trial, they used a total of 500 milligrams – 250 twice daily!

  • Gut Health Drinks that Actually Taste Good

    Gut health drinks are nothing new on the market — we’ve long seen Kombucha drinks full of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Only now, the industry’s providing some gut health drinks that actually taste good to normal consumers!

    One such example was Sun Sip Soda, a prebiotic soda made by Health-Ade, who’s already known for their Kombucha. Sun Sip is basically a carbonated beverage with some juices and apple cider vinegar inside. It also includes small amounts of zinc and selenium, two minerals we love that we see get ignored by the beverage industry all too often.

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All in all, great times were had at Expo West with Kyowa and friends. But there’s more coming…

What’s Coming Next? Stay tuned to PricePlow

Cognizin: For the evolution of your mind.

One thing we have to mention is that MacroCap Labs, the industry’s premier energy drink manufacturer, had a booth at the Arnold Sports Festival, and we got together to ideate a cool beverage to sample our favorite ingredients. When it happens, it will have Cognizin inside, of course. Stay tuned to PricePlow’s alerts on Energy Drinks below, we’ll have a lot more of that coming.

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