In the quest to find the best ways restaurants and foodservice providers can inspire customers to enjoy more beverages, market analysis firm Food IQ used social media, industry events, and more to find out what people want to drink. Food IQ's findings revealed that consumers are adventurous and willing to pay for great taste, but just like with food and fashion, catching their attention means beverages must be distinctive — and on-trend.
In the Food IQ "2015 Beverage Flavor Perspective" report, discussed during a recent Refreshing Insights by Coca-Cola webinar, researchers revealed flavor and beverage styles that might surprise you.
One of the trends covered was tea. Consumers are jazzed by naturally sweetened teas — those made with honey, agave and maple — and love the addition of superfruits to their brews. According to insights from research firm Mintel Menu, there are 256 tea flavors on menus today, with tea cocktails a fast-growing sales category. Food IQ's findings revealed that emerging flavors are moving to the spicy side, with chipotle/pineapple and jalapeno/honey as examples of the trend.
The takeaway on teas: Consumers want variety, they love fruit flavors (blueberry, pomegranate and peach) and spicy teas, and crave ethnic beverages such as horchata and bubble tea.
"The greatest lesson for anyone in foodservice: Today's beverages are just as imaginative as the people drinking them."
"Craft" isn't just for beer. Drinks made in-house or from scratch are in high demand, and the descriptors handmade, house-made, hand-crafted, or craft are synonymous in describing this trend. Beverages that are just starting to gain momentum are farm-to-glass drinks, juices made to order, and small-batch spirits, per Food IQ. You can also expect to see more craft beer cocktails and house-made green smoothies and juices.
The takeaway on house-made: Consumers want personalized, customized flavors, buoying the popularity of DIY drinks. Consumers want fresh fruit smoothies, fresh-squeezed or pressed juices, special-made coffees, signature drinks, and craft and house-made sodas.
Savory flavors have made their way into popular culture, with bitter cocktails, drinking vinegars, pickled fruit and smoked flavors emerging onto the scene. As the savory trend moves to include more variety, consumers are open to what may have once been considered unusual flavors for beverages, such as basil, rosemary, and various vegetable flavors.
The takeaway on subtly savory drinks: About 43 percent of consumers have tried green juice, based on Food IQ's findings. The most appealing beverages in this category are flavored waters, cold-pressed juices and beverages that use organic ingredients and herbs.
The greatest lesson for anyone in foodservice: Today's beverages are just as imaginative as the people drinking them.