Global Thirst Quenchers
Beverages aren’t just about thirst quenching anymore; they’re also about health and refreshment. Twists on tried and true drinks and global infusions are increasingly popular. Drinks are also morphing into meal supplements with protein additives, combined with healthy fruits, a trend being fuelled by the growth of fresh pressed juice bars.
While orange and apple juice are still leaders on the menu, customers are clamouring for tropical infusions, which are easy to access in today’s global markets.
“Mango and other fruit flavours (papaya and kiwi, for example) are trending on cocktail menus and smoothies,” says Patricia Cobe, senior editor at Winsight Media. Though not considered tropical, she adds that watermelon is also gaining in popularity for its antioxidant properties.
“Ethnic flavours continue to grow in popularity,” according to Barb Grant, director of marketing for SunRype Products Ltd. SunRype features a variety of mango offerings as well as pineapple, which she says is growing significantly, along with berry and tropical fruit segments and fruit and veggie combinations.
Juriaan Snellen, executive corporate chef for McCormick Canada, says the company in its annual flavour report as early as three years ago forecasted that coconut would gain in popularity “Not just coconut water but coconut in any shape or form to make an explosion. We’re starting to see more and more of that.”
COLD BREW CAFFEINE
Cold brew coffees are popular in the U.S. and moving into Canada, says Cobe, and now many operations are introducing cold brew on tap. These nitro cold brews, with a little effervescence, give them foaminess similar to beer. Restaurants can easily tap into this market by using one of their beer-on-tap lines to make cold brews.
HOW CAN RESTAURANTS TAP INTO THESE TRENDS?
Using fresh ingredients elevates drinks, particularly mocktails, Winsight’s Patricia Cobe offers.
“You don’t have to make them very elaborate. Restaurants can look at the kitchen and see what’s available.” She suggests a seasonal drink menu similar to your seasonal food offerings. Healthy ingredients and clean eating and drinking are growing trends that restaurants can easily tap into.
“A few years ago it was all about lower in calories. Now people are looking for what will help promote health, like antioxidants in the green tea, and some of the fruits that have a lot of vitamins and nutrients,” says Cobe.
Mocktails & Cocktails
Using healthier ingredients in cocktails – like carrot juice and matcha – is also gaining in popularity. “Even though they have alcohol in them, there’s the perception that you’re drinking something better for you,” says Cobe.
Mocktails are “definitely becoming more popular,” adds Juriaan Snellen. Elevated mocktails include fruit juices like clementine, grapefruit and guava because “more exotic juices ultimately make your cocktail more interesting.”
Both Cobe and Snellen mention that spices and herbs like rosemary, ground up cinnamon sticks and more are also being used to add an interesting twist to alcohol drinks and mocktails.
“Consumers are looking for variety, less sugar, and the combination of fruit and tea, and tea offers both a health benefit and great-tasting refreshment,” says SunRype’s Barb Grant. SunRype Sparkling teas power up the fruit flavour with Twist of Lemon and Mango Peach, both made with black tea, Raspberry Rooibos and Honey Lemon Green Tea.
“The popularity of green tea and matcha in beverages is really growing because people are looking for the health benefits of when they drink as well as when they eat,” says Winsight’s Cobe.
Cold brew coffee actually tastes a lot sweeter than traditional hot-brewed coffee because cold brew has approximately 67% less acidity than hot-brewed coffee