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Beverage Trends 2019

The last few years have been an exciting time in the beverage industry. Organic and natural beverages continue to lead the way with fresh, functional, fermented, and plant based items.

Innovation is happening across every market segment, and beverages are fitting into more areas of people’s lives than we could have ever imagined. Today’s consumer is looking for both healthy and convenient options to replace highly caffeinated beverages and full sugar sodas and juices.

With continued interest and research on the gut-brain connection both kombucha and fermented drinks remain popular. Looked upon as more than just a kitchen ingredient, vinegars have also been incorporated into healthy beverages including probiotic vinegar juices. On the functional front, collagen, matcha, coconut, and mushrooms showed up in drinks.

In a category that up until recently didn’t offer any organic options, sports and energy drinks have also come onboard with many healthy choices to pick from.

As sugar laden drinks are being taxed in certain areas, manufacturers are trying to measure the long term market for beverages that are on the sweet side. In 2017, organic soft drinks and enhanced drinks grew 11.7% down from 23.6% in 2016, but organic sparking waters which also fall into this category are growing.

According to an Organic Trade Association (OTA) high pressure type packaged beverages are still growing in fresh juices and drinks which surpassed both the canned and bottled juice drinks sales for the first time. Fresh juices and drinks reported $1.3 billion in sales in 2017 on growth of 24.5% extending a five year double digit growth.

Organic alternatives including almond, soy, coconut, rice, cashew, flax, pea blends, and oat beverages all increased in sales and popularity driven by the plant based trend. This was also fueled by vegans and those with dairy allergies looking for other choices.

In organic coffee private label, single serve cups, and K cups are leading the category.

Foodservice & Restaurants
With consumers wanting new flavors and ingredient options on menus, restaurants have the chance to get creative with beverages. Here are 5 of the top trends for foodservice in 2019.

Cocktails promoting gut-health
It’s no surprise that sales of kombucha are on the rise, thanks to the fermented drink’s tangy taste and purported health benefits. According to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage report, 43% of consumers who say they are more likely to purchase beverages that contain probiotics. These types of drinks are top sellers for operators.

Mocktails and low-alcohol drinks
Up until recently, mocktails have been an afterthought on most menus. Today, however, bartenders are employing the same ingenuity and techniques to develop the low- and no-alcohol side of the menu. Technomic’s 2018 Beverage report finds that 67% of consumers say they would be more likely to purchase beverages that are 100% fruit juice, too, while 54% say the same about handcrafted beverages, so non-alcohol drinks can get a boost by being listed as “fresh-squeezed” or “all-natural.” Additionally, tea is often a component in low-alcohol drinks, because it offers floral and earthy base notes.

Trendy fruit flavored drinks
Unique fruit flavors are taking the beverage menu by storm. More specifically, spiny fruits such as prickly pear and dragon fruit are popping up on beverage menus. Citrus still remains a favorite including orange juice, lemonade, and citrus flavored soft drinks. However, consumers are exploring more unique varieties—yuzu, citron, Meyer lemon, and blood orange to name a few.

Cold brew
This cool category remains popular—according to Technomic’s Beverage report, more than a quarter of consumers (27%) say they would consider ordering cold brew if it was available. Although a few restaurant operators are brewing on-site, it’s easier to satisfy the thirst for this smooth, rich coffee with ready-to-drink packaging, which offers consumers more options. Nitro cold brew is the latest twist; offered from the tap, nitrogen adds a creamy mouthfeel. Iced coffee, too, is attracting more fans and is generally offered either black, with milk, lightly sweetened or in flavors such as vanilla or cocoa.

In the water category, sparkling water is growing, driven in part by consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy their craving for carbonation. That’s the strategy behind the launch of Bubly, PepsiCo’s foray into sparkling water. Bubly comes in eight real fruit flavors with no sweeteners or calories but plenty of sparkle

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