Milk, Botanicals, Tickle Water, Kombucha and Suja Juice

ticklewater_webResearch into how efficiently different beverages hydrate the human body discovered that milk (both fat-free and whole), orange juice, and oral rehydration solution (e.g. Pedialyte) had a significantly higher hydration index than water. Drinks with moderate amounts of caffeine or alcohol as well as beverages with high levels of sugar had hydration indexes no different than water. The study was conducted by the European Hydration Institute. (Source: The New York Times, June 30, 2016)

Beverage makers are increasingly incorporating botanicals into their ingredient lists. Mixologists and craft cocktail makers are usually the first to try out new herbs and bitters. Others are responding to consumers’ desire for more plant-based alternatives as part of a clean food lifestyle. Botanicals are appealing not only for their flavor but also for functional properties such as sweetener or emulsifier as well as nutritional and health benefits including protein, fiber, antioxidants, and stress relief. One downside to botanical ingredients is they often vary in attributes according to region, weather, and other factors. (Source: Beverage Industry, September 12, 2016)

Tickle Water is positioned as “children’s sparkling water.” The line of naturally flavored, preservative-free, GMO-free, gluten-free, no-salt, no-sugar, and no-calorie sparkling water comes in Green Apple, Watermelon, and Cola flavors as well as an unflavored Natural. The line is available in select markets for $1.49-$1.59 per 8-ounce plastic can. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 28, 2016)

Kombucha, a fermented, functional tea, is catching on with consumers. Kombucha has a variety of health benefits including detoxification, joint health, digestive health, and immune-boosting properties. Nearly one-quarter (23%) of all adults and half (51%) of adults age 25 to 34 report drinking kombucha. Consumers who have tried kombucha plan to repeat their purchase by a two-to-one margin. Kombucha marketers are testing different variations of black tea and fruit flavors to differentiate their product from others. (Source: Beverage Industry, July 12, 2016)

Suja Juice is launching a line of functional drinking vinegars in September. The drinks are made with organic apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed fruits and vegetables. Each bottle contains over 4 billion units of live vegan probiotics, which support digestive and immune health, as well as 3-6 grams of naturally occurring sugars which results in 20-30 calories. The Suja Drinking Vinegars are fermented and unfiltered and have the “mother” still intact. Flavors include Hibiscus Ancho Chile, Strawberry Balsamic, Peach Ginger, Cucumber Ginger, and Lemon Cayenne. (Source: Beverage World, July 26, 2016)

Millennials now make up a greater proportion of wine drinkers (36%) than baby boomers (34%). The younger generation say that the wine they drink says a lot about them. They are also embracing wine sold in cans. The ManCan targets millennial soccer dads who want to drink wine at the pool, a baseball game, or outdoor at the grill. ManCan is available in red and white blends that makes for an easy decision for those without a lot of wine knowledge. The brand wants to eliminate all the barriers to drinking wine. Another wine in a can, Underwood, pokes fun at wine snobs in a series of videos. They, too, want to appeal to people who haven’t tried wine – in this case because of the pomp and circumstance associated with it. Rebel Coast Winery sells wine in bottles but has found ways to stand out on the shelf with names like Sunday Funday and a mustache on its label. Millennials also like rosé which has increased in volume by 48% to 52% year-overyear. (Source: Adweek, August 23, 2016)

Full Beverages InView October 2016 Report here.

Hybridising Health & Hedonism – US Beverage Trends

Carlsberg’s London Pop Up Chocolate Bar

Highlights from BeverageIn View June 2016:

Consumer research finds that taste/flavour is the primary deciding factor for consumers’ preferred beverage, cited by 72%. Other choice influencers are health and nutrition (21%) and functional attributes (16%). Hybrid beverages that combine great taste with better-for-you benefits are increasingly available and popular. The top three categories of non-alcoholic beverages have seen little growth or even declines. Carbonated soft drinks and juices both recorded 0.1% growth while dairy milk fell 7%. In contrast, energy drinks grew by 8.9%, and coffee sales increased 8.7%. (Source: US Official News, March 25, 2016)

Tea is being mixed with alcoholic beverages such as Bourbon, Vodka, Wine and Cocktails.

The top 10 beverage companies with distribution in the U.S. ranked on 2015 sales are:
The Coca-Cola Co. $44, 294 million; Anheuser-Busch InBev $43,064 million; PepsiCo Inc. $29,636 million; Nestlé SA $24,477 million; Heineken NV $23,391 million; Diageo $22,741 million; Suntory Holdings $22,410 million; SABMiller PLC $22,130 million; Starbucks Corp. $19,200 million; Unilever Group $19,200 million;

After increasing 89% in 2013 and 71% in 2014, hard cider sales rose only 10% in 2015 leading some to theorize the cider craze has peaked.

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority created a custom beer brand #WHHSH, a social media hashtag for the city’s famous tagline. The black-labeled beer won’t be sold to the public but will be given away for free at events designed to promote Las Vegas to potential tourists. The beer is brewed by Tenaya Creek Brewery of Las Vegas, a local craft brewer. (Source: Advertising Age, April 11, 2016)

The global beer market is expected to hit $688.4 billion by 2020. The international beer market has been shaken up by beer’s increasing popularity in China. Four of the 10 top-selling beers worldwide are Chinese. The top 10 beer brands internationally and their market shares are: Snow (5.4%), Tsingtao (2.8%), Bud Light (2.5%), Budweiser (2.3%), Skol (2.1%), Yanjing (1.9%), Heineken (1.5%), Harbin (1.5%), Brahma (1.5%), and Coors Light (1.3%). (Source: Business Insider, May 9, 2016)

A survey of craft beer drinkers found they are more interested in healthy habits such as exercising, watching their weight, and drinking alcohol only occasionally than other monthly drinkers. Sixty percent of Millennial craft beer drinkers say they only drink alcohol on weekends and 44% observe periods of not drinking at all to maintain their health. Given the healthy focus of many craft beer drinkers, brewers are encouraged to be transparent when it comes to nutrition labeling which 78% of craft beer drinkers say are important to read when buying food and beverages. (Source: Brewbound, June 10, 2016)

A new study delves into the habits of craft beer drinkers at point of purchase. Almost 60% have used their smartphone to help decide what beer to choose off the shelf while 74% have used their mobile device to read up on beer before going to the store. Among craft beer drinkers, 72% say they are more likely to try a new beer if they can read information about it. Those who are searching for information about a brand while standing in front of the shelf are looking for reviews about one-third of the time. Craft beer drinks who use their mobile phone in-store would like to be offered rebates or coupons (75%), information about pricing (65%), brand specific information (52%), and retail locations that carry specific brands (51%) or have it in-stock (49%). (Source: Adweek, June 19, 2016)

A federal judge refused to block a San Francisco ordinance that requires warning labels on outdoor advertisements for soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The new rule will take effect on July 25. The warning must appear on posters and billboards and say “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.” (Source: Law360, May 17, 2016)

The City of Philadelphia approved a tax that would raise the price of a soft drink – both sugar-added and artificially sweetened – by 18 cents per can. The tax will be used to help pay for pre-kindergarten and other popular services. At 1.5 cents per ounce, the proposed tax levy is 50% higher than the assessment in Berkeley, California, the first city to impose such a measure. A recent poll found that 59% of Philadelphians backed the sugary drink tax which has been endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. (Source: The Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2016; CNN Money, June 16, 2016)


In the past 15 years, per capita consumption of bottled water has increased 120% from 16.7 gallons in 2000 to 36.7 gallons in 2015. During the same time, the combined volume of all other liquid refreshment beverages decreased from 95.7 gallons per person to 80.1 gallons, a 16.3% decline. An analysis estimates that by choosing bottled water over other drinks, an average individual consumed 24,000 to 27,000 fewer calories in 2015 than a typical person did in 2000. (Source: Beverage Industry, June 7, 2016)

Coffee houses are reporting increasing demand for more iced espressos and lattes. During the last quarter of 2015, Starbucks reported a 20% increase in iced drinks nationwide following its introduction of a new cold brew coffee. Coffee makers – including Peet’s, Illy, High Brew, La Colombe, and Chameleon Cold-Brew – are pushing to get more high-end, low-calorie, less-sugary cold brews and lattes onto store shelves. The U.S. ready-to-drink coffee market has been growing by double-digits annually since 2011 and is expected to reach nearly $3.6 billion by 2020. (Source: Bloomberg, May 23, 2016)

Consumers have begun to realize how much sugar sports drinks contain – over 50 grams per 32-ounce bottle, much more than the average person needs. In response, sports drinks are offering lower- and no-calorie versions. Sports drinks are also being tailored to meet specific needs such as a high-sugar version for athletes needing energy, carb-heavy versions for athletes needing endurance, and low-calorie options for simple hydration needs. In addition, Gatorade and Powerade have eliminated brominated vegetable oil from their ingredient lists in response to an online campaign begun by a 15-year old. The next phase of sports drinks appears to be meeting individual nutritional needs. Gatorade is testing small pods of liquid formulated to individual needs as determined by Gatorade’s sweat patch. The pods snap into bottles of Gatorade to deliver the necessary nutrients. (Source: Business Insider, March 26, 2016)

Overall, revenue for the U.S. distilled spirits category grew 4.1% in 2015 while volume was up 2%. The gap between dollars and cases is expected to widen as more drinkers opt for premium and superpremium drinks. Among sub-segments, Irish whiskey had the strongest growth rate at 16.1% followed by single malt Scotch whiskey at 13%, blended whiskey at 8.8%, tequila at 7.4%, and brandy and cognac at 7.2%. Sub-segments with declining growth include cordials at -1.9%, gin at -1.8%, and rum at -1.5%. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

Juice sales have stagnated in recent years due to increasing competition from other healthy drink categories, heightened concerns about the calorie and sugar content in juice, and growing aversion to artificial ingredients. (Source: Beverage World, May 2016)

A new survey finds that Americans’ favorite place to drink wine is at home with 47% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X and Baby Boomers preferring it over social gatherings, restaurants, or wineries. This preference could be part of a wider movement towards “hometainment” or socializing at home to save money. The same survey found that bars are the least popular place to drink wine with only 3% choosing it as their favorite. (Source: Business Insider, May 3, 2016)

And from the “Only in America” file:

New Belgium Brewing is teaming up with Ben & Jerry’s to offer another ice cream-inspired ale. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ale will roll out this fall. The two companies previously released Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. Proceeds up to $50,000 from the sales of the new offering will benefit Protect Our Winters which is a non-profit focused on climate change. (Source: Fox31 in Denver, June 20, 2016)

Carlsberg created a chocolate bar – a drinking establishment made entirely out of chocolate – outside of the Old Truman Brewery in London as part of the ongoing “If Carlsberg Did” campaign. Initially the bar was disguised as a billboard in the shape of a giant candy bar which was unwrapped to reveal the bar which was constructed from 1,000 pounds of chocolate. Measuring 5 meters wide by three meters high by two meters deep, the bar included bar stools and a television and served half-pints of Carlsberg beer in chocolate glasses. The bar was only in business for half-a-day and the promotion was tied to the Easter holiday. (Source: Adweek, March 24, 2016)


Self-Serve Beer Taps, Virtual Wine Tastings, Mead, Cold Brew Coffee and Natural Wine: Beverage Trends from the US


BeerSelected items from the MARC Research Beverages InView Report Jan 2016:

Millennials of drinking age are willing to learn about new styles and flavors of drinks while balancing the desire to explore new tastes with loyalty to a few favourite brands. They are likely to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at a variety of retail and on-premises venues. They drink more than one type of adult beverage with 30% doing so on their last on-premise occasion. Cost is the leading factor in deciding what drink to order. As they age they explore craft beer and wine varietals.

Around one-third of diners order an alcoholic beverage with their meal. Beer wine and spirits account for 85%,  8.9% and 6.2% respectively. On-premise drinking occurs at bars (40%), casual dining spots (38%), hotels (9%), and fine dining restaurants (5%).

Since 2013 the on-premise drinkers that say the drink menu influenced their decision to visit a particular restaurant, has increased. Drink menus are shrinking with adult beverage items declining 2.2% year-over-year. This parallels the trend towards smaller, more focused food menus.  Less than one-quarter of consumers overall say price is more important than quality in drinks.

Trends include venues that focus on a particular type of alcohol, e.g. bourbon bar; wine on tap; cocktails made with wine, beer, and hard ciders; classic cocktails  such as Martinis and Tom Collins’ are making a come back; more choices in serving sizes; boutique, better-for-you, and hand-crafted options for alcohol, mixers, and garnishes.

Ten beverage trends to expect in 2016:  
Fresh herbs and spices
Low-alcohol cocktails that don’t skimp on flavor
Ethnic mashups
Creative applications for different types of tea including ‘matcha’
Fermented drinks
Grilled citrus to add a sweet smoky flavor to drinks
Carbonation of coffee, tea, and other drinks
Greater demand for seasonal ingredients
Cold-brew coffee
Focus on drink presentation style

In Total Wine & More’s 21st century liquor store, customers can experience virtual wine tastings via live-streaming video on a massive HDTV. They can also enter meal ingredients and cooking method into an app on a tablet and receive a list of suggested wines at different price points to pair with the meal. They can scan the barcode of a product and instantly receive descriptions and ratings for it.



Pubs and fast casual restaurants are installing self-serve beer taps.  Drinkers provide ID and receive a wireless bracelet or card that permits operation of the taps. Customers can choose from dozens of beers on tap and sample several or pour a full glasses.

Craft beer sales grew 15.2% in 2014, this market being driven by younger consumers looking for brands which offer a certain level of distinction as well as beers that are produced locally. The category continues to see innovation such as hard sodas and ciders.

Letsee Beer is a new app which uses augmented reality to provide instant access to beer reviews. Users launch the app, take a photo of the beer they are interested in and the app immediately serves up user reviews and ratings.

Mead sales grew 84% between 2012 and 2014 and production increased 128% from 2013 to 2014. 42 new meaderies opened in 2014 with more planned across the nation. Mead makers experiment with dry, lighter, carbonated meads and as like craft beers, they can be found on-tap and offer an alternative for non-beer drinkers.

Sparkling water volume has grown 26% in the past year. The US top seller in LaCroix  has experienced 50% sales growth. LaCroix, Perrier and San Pellegrino have 30% , 15% and 12% market share respectively. Coke and Pepsi are preparing to launch flavored sparkling water entries.

„’Woodsy’ waters offer an alternative to coconut water. Cactus or nopal water contains prickly pear cactus juice and is the only known fruit to contain all 24 betalain skin-beneficial antioxidants and is also said to be good for muscle recovery. Birch water,  native to the Nordic and Baltic regions for centuries, helps to eliminate uric acid and contains a naturally occurring sugar, Xylitol. Maple water has a light, refreshing maple taste and is low-calorie and nutrient laden.

Cold brew coffee retail sales grew 115% between 2014 and 2015 and 300% since 2010. 24% of U.S. consumers have purchased cold-brew coffee at retail with older Millennials (55%) and men (30%) are more likely to buy it. However, 58% of those who don’t drink cold brew coffee aren’t even interested in trying it. Among those who have tried it, 48% did not like its taste while 9% said it cost too much.

A new coffee shop concept in Philadelphia asks customers to serve themselves from a wall of single-serve coffee pods. Customers choose from 136 varieties of hot beverages, purchase their single-serve cup for $1.75 for regular and $3.00 for gourmet blends, and then make their own coffee in a single-serve machine. The shop’s staff cleans and recycles the cups.

Natural wines have no more than one percent share of the wine market but debate is rife. The character of natural wine more closely reflects the places where the grapes were grown. Makers offer more transparency about where and how they were made; however, since they haven’t the additives of mainstream wine (which makes for consistent taste and prevents the wine from turning into vinegar), each bottle of wine a wild card until it is opened. Many natural wine makers are still learning the craft and relying on market feedback for guidance.

Full Report Here: BeverageInView Dec 2015

Coming Our Way? Sugary Drink Taxes, Tea Cocktails, Bulletproof Coffee and Coffee Wine


Bulletproof Coffee Recipe from Optimoz

If you take the view that Australia follows the US in food and drink trends, then the latest US beverage trends from M/A/R/C Research’s InView will interest foodies and those in food and beverage.

Here’s a round up on the US trends in sugared drinks, fads, tea, millennials, craft brews, bottled water and wine.

Sugary Drink Taxes

Sugar-sweetened drinks with at least 209kJ’s per 236 ml’s are said to contribute to 180,000 deaths worldwide through diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vermont and Illinois have levied a taxes on sugary drinks and other states are considering following suite.

Bulletproof Coffee

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that coffee bars (chocolate-like wafers that offer the equivalent of a shot of expresso), activated charcoal lemonade (supposed to detoxify and reduce bloat) and Bulletproof or Sherpa coffee (fresh brewed coffee blended with grass-fed butter and a shot of coconut oil) are the latest fads to hit the beverage scene.

Starbucks Applies for Liquor Licences

About 100 locations will offer beer, wine, and small plates as Starbuck applies for liquor licenses in an effort to improve sales via a new evening menu.

Brewed Tea the Cool New Mixer

The Detroit News reports tea-flavored vodkas including Seagram’s sweet tea-flavored vodka and Absolut’s Wild Tea also containing elderflower is becoming popular.

Experimental Millennials

Heineken estimates Millennials will account for 70% of future beer growth due to their experimental  natures and the fact that they equate cost with quality. As the economy and their economic standing improve, they trade up so Heineken use digital aspirational and experiential campaigns to capture this group.

Cannabis-Infused Beer

Targeted News Service reports that craft beer market is growing and growing. At the end of June there was an 18% increase in the number of US breweries operating with 1,755 further breweries in planning. Specialist brewers have introduced alcoholic ginger and root beers and a (legal derivative of cannabis called cannabidoil or CBD) cannabis-infused beers.

If Bottled Water is King, Then Water Enhancer’s are Queen

Between 2000 and 2014, annual US per capita consumption of bottled water doubled and per capita consumption of soft drinks fell 25%. Driven mostly by the health and wellness movement, US analysts believe that by 2017 bottled water will surpass soft drinks and become the dominant non-alcoholic beverage. Brands are launching products with exotic flavors in waters and water enhancers.

Coffee Wines

PR Newswire reports: The fastest growing wines are a range varietals, styles, and regions with interest in wines with interesting stories, philanthropic connections, unique production methods, and convenient packaging. Wine retailers note that consumers are more likely to purchase a new brand at a higher price point than remain with a familiar brand that raised its price. Boxed wines recorded double-digit growth with 187-ml wine bottles also selling well.

The World’s First Coffee Wines have been launched: Cabernet Espresso and Chardonnay Cappuccino under the Friends Fun Wine brand. Fun Wine is positioned as a drink for 21 – 35 year old new an occasional wines drinkers that want an affordable alternative to beer and wine with a lower alcohol content.