Sales of functional soft drinks are tipped to soar following a wave of NPD.

The proportion of new soft drink launches offering functional benefits had risen from 15% in 2009 to 22.6% last year, according to Mintel, and had increased further to 28% this year.

“Functional drink sales are likely to accelerate significantly in 2014 on the back of strong NPD and a more mainstream positioning,” said analyst Jonny Forsyth.

Younger consumers were driving growth as they were more likely to be swayed by functional claims ranging from hangover cures to mood enhancers, he said. “Consumers aged 30 and under are more health-aware but fundamentally want energy,” he said.

‘Organic energy’ is a key claim of Little Miracles, which said a change in retailer attitudes had helped natural functional drinks reach mainstream consumers. ”Retailers are devoting more space to the sector.” said international marketing manager Kate Woolf. The brand secured its first big four listing with Sainsbury’s in September and is rolling out an Oolong tea, orange juice, ginger & lemongrass variant alongside its existing drinks to Tesco in January.

Other recent functional launches include Good Shot Genius Drinks - a sparkling blend of pear juice, nutrients and botanical extracts that is claimed to ease hangovers when drunk at the beginning of the night.

In August, Melissa Burton, founder of veggie sweet brand Goody Good Stuff, launched superfoods shot drink FTN, which she claims can help slow the ageing process and prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Similar claims around Alzheimer’s are being made by Brainwave, which rolls out next month from the creator of energy drink Sumo.