Consumer trends that affect beverage developments include the healthier lifestyle movement, desire for more "natural" products with fewer additives, the increase in meals eaten away from home, and the desire for convenience. Natural products and products with fewer additives have become more popular. Improvements in processing have made these products possible while consumer demand has allowed producers to raise prices to cover increased costs. Changes in packaging technology have also had an impact. Aseptic packaging allows less heat processing and resulting flavor loss for shelf-stable juice products. Better oxygen and light barrier materials have improved shelf life and reduced vitamin losses in dairy products. Easy-opening spouts on water and sports drink bottles have become popular. Convenience trends have hurt the sales of powder mix beverages and frozen juice concentrates prepared at home. At the same time, convenience store and vending machine packaged product sales have grown. Bottled water is a good example of convenience packaging increasing sales and margins for a commodity product. The convenience trend is making beverages of all kinds more readily available where we work, shop, and recreate.
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