The beverage industry is all about how better to enjoy the basic need to drink. This involves altering tastes, adding alcohol, changing the packaging, accessibility and situational setting. What were the trends that dominated the beverage industry in 2017?
Much about the beverage industry has become about the process in which a drink is made. Consumers care about the brewing process, what hops are used or what type of barrel the brew is stored in. They care about how the bean is picked and roasted and what temperature the water is when it is brewed. This has led to a rise in popularity of craft beers and support of microbreweries who have unique and trendsetting ways of doing things. The other trend growing in popularity is cold brew coffee, which involves brewing coffee at room temperature using cold water. This process produces a beverage that is rich, smooth and chocolatey, and lacking in the acidic taste of coffee, which is attributable to the oils that are extracted during hot water brewing.
The US market for cold brew rose by 2% in 2017 reaching 17% and is a great solution for consistency of sales and supply year-round as it provides a summertime beverage that ticks all the boxes.
Back to Basics
As consumerism grows and life becomes more hectic and complex with our current social norms, people are going back to basics when it comes to food and drink. The market is after whole-food or plant-based alternatives that might harness some more traditional properties that inspire health and healing in its consumers. Complementing this, is the increasing rate of water-consumers. Water sales, whether it be sparkled, bottled or flavoured, have dramatically risen.
Save the Sugar
When making a beverage choice, it is becoming even more popular to read the labels and choose a low or sugarless option. With more and more obesity occurring worldwide and a fountain of knowledge available about the risks of our sedentary and sugar-laden lifestyles, consumers are far more aware of sugar and its ill-health effects. Therefore, they are looking for better alternatives. In come the sugar-free versions that contain natural sweeteners such as stevia. This trend has been duly noted by even the largest beverage companies with Coco-Cola introducing some sugar-free options into their range.
It seems packaging has taken two different trendy routes lately: the minimalist/environmentalist look with recyclable packaging boasting a backstory or the cute, Pinterest-inspired packaging that is individual and complex in design. Whatever packaging chosen, do not underestimate its effects on consumers. It pays to consider even the finest of details.
Foods that are free from a range of things including gluten, lactose, MSG and sugar have taken the world by storm, and believe it or not, beverages are no different. Perhaps it is more commonplace to be able to enjoy a drink that naturally does not contain gluten or lactose compared with food, however it is still beneficial to companies to explore ‘free from’ beverage ranges. For example, most beers will naturally contain gluten however some breweries are delving into gluten-free beer, which has been met with great success. Similarly, milk -derivative drinks have been exceedingly popular, but how can someone who is lactose e-free enjoy a nice, frothy milkshake? By indulging in soy or coconut milk alternatives. This industry is all about being creative with what alternatives are available and then marketing it correctly to share in the sales from a very eager and captive audience.
Whatever the route you decide to embark upon for your beverage-creating journey, it is essential to have optimum business processes in place to survive. Much of your business will be about your product, whether it is the raw materials, the created beverage or the finished and packaged inventory stock. Having all these components in sync with each other is imperative to success, just as if they are not in control, it is very difficult to keep the company going forward.
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.