Look Before You Launch: “7 Principles of Beverage Development” for long-term success

When it comes to launching a successful beverage company the journey begins with beverage development. Whether you’re a passionate entrepreneur with a groundbreaking idea or an established company seeking innovation, the process of bringing a new beverage to market is both thrilling and challenging.

Every beverage company asks the same important question: How can my product be as successful as possible? The answer is neither quick nor easy but involves a series of steps focused on clear processes, strong partnerships, and steady proactivity. With over thirty years of experience in beverage flavor and development, we has guided hundreds of beverage brands through the product launch process. This category history and beverage formulation knowledge informs our 7 Principles of Beverage Development, designed to help new beverage brands achieve ROI faster and scale quicker – all with an eye towards long-term success:


Define the Concept: Creating a great product begins with a clear vision. Just like a seed needs the right soil, sunlight, and weather conditions to grow, your beverage concept requires a well-defined product profile, consumer need, marketing strategy, business plan, and an understanding of how it will be manufactured. Consider the manufacturing process carefully—whether it will be hot-filled, cold-filled, aseptic, tunnel pasteurized, carbonated, or any other method. Co-packers may have limited capacity for specific processing or package types, which can be an obstacle for new products. Additionally, it’s crucial to think about distribution as it plays a key role in revenue growth and capital requirements. These aspects are vital to establishing the project’s scope and saving valuable time and resources during the creative development process. Having a defined concept helps you stay on track as you compare new directions to your original vision.



Provide More Value with Functional Ingredients: In today’s competitive beverage landscape successful products often go beyond traditional offerings by incorporating functional ingredients. Consider the inclusion of functional elements such as probiotics, prebiotics, and postbiotics which can add an extra layer of value to your beverage. These ingredients not only cater to taste but also address specific health and wellness needs such as gut health and immune support. By simultaneously offering solutions to multiple consumer problems your beverage is more likely to stand out and gain popularity, provided it tastes exceptional and meets consumer expectations.



Build a Strong Team: Iconic beverages are born from innovation and collaboration. To bring your new beverage to market swiftly, assemble a skilled team of beverage engineers, flavorists, package designers, market analysts, sales directors, quality specialists, logistics coordinators, regulatory advisors, and production managers. A strong team ensures that every aspect of your go-to-market strategy is covered by subject matter experts, leading to a higher success rate.



Engage Your Consumer: Innovation thrives on consumer interaction and feedback. Conduct “boots on the ground” fieldwork with consumer insights to understand how your target audience interacts with your beverage. Are they mixing it with water or other ingredients? What occasions are they most likely to consume it in? Is the package, branding, and serving size optimized for these occasions? Gathering consumer insights and conducting sensory testing before launching your product ensures it’s on the right track and helps refine the concept before it hits the market. Online product reviews of the finished beverage should be your third, fourth, or fifth interaction with your target consumer – but definitely not your first.



Optimize the Product: Beverage development is an iterative process. Regularly check consumer feedback, sales reports, and market trends for opportunities to refine your beverage. While most first-time developers may not achieve a “Gold Standard” at launch, revisiting and revising the formula is essential for long-term success. Just be careful not to lose sight of the main idea in the process. This is where the first step of defining the concept proves invaluable. Listen to our Senior Beverage Engineer Kelly Chavarrio describe ways to improve overall acceptability in a low sugar beverage in her Taste Radio interview.



Secure Your Supply Chain: A reliable supply chain is essential. Rather than committing to long-term contracts, consider establishing flexible agreements with key ingredient and packaging suppliers. New beverage products often evolve and it’s crucial to have the flexibility to reformulate or make changes without incurring excessive supply chain risk. Maintain open communication with suppliers to adapt to changing circumstances as your product develops.



Develop the Brand: Branding is an exciting part of beverage development and should naturally follow the course set by the original concept. Remember that every brand requires routine maintenance. Depending on the evolution of the product category and the target consumer, some brands will need more frequent check-ups than others. Engage consumers and allow their feedback to inform updates to the messaging and branding, while at the same time being careful not to lose sight of your brand’s original mission and voice during the process.


Designing a new beverage is an exciting journey filled with innovation and creativity. We hope our 7 Principles of Beverage Development help you focus on the key aspects of building a successful beverage product. With over three decades of beverage development experience, the SMARC team is ready to assist with any beverage challenge. From bench-top to production scale-up, we bring new beverages to life. Contact us to learn more about our beverage development services and embark on your path to success!


Source: bluepacificflavors