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High end and healthy beverages are two movements that are making waves in the International beverage market. Every year approximately 1000 new beverages are introduced to the beverage market aiming to target every palette possible. Specialty beverages from coffee too smoothies have been on an uprising in restaurants and cafés over the past years, and now consumers are seeking them out. From innovative iced beverages to fruity yoghurt based smoothies, consumers are becoming more attracted to the gourmet beverages on offer. Innovation and selection are the two major keys when it comes to beverages and attracting customers.
Cookies & Cream Dairy Frappe

Not long ago it was assumed that if a café was selling smoothies they served strawberry and banana, where-as now cafes have an endless selection of innovative beverage blends on offer. It’s the innovation and variety that have beverage blends taking the market by storm. New research by Technomic shows that 21% of consumers feel the beverage selection plays a very important role in their restaurant decision, which is up 5% since 2012. This increase in primarily driven by consumers aged 18-44, who are using beverages for a wide variety of occasions, including snacks and social visits. According to Technomic, operators are maximising potential beverage occasions by launching custom beverages to get people through the door. Variety and customisation continue to drive innovative beverage creation, as well as the demand for healthier and more natural ingredients. Prompting operators to focus on increased consumer demand for variety and health when they are developing or “revamping” their beverage needs. While low calorie content is an important factor to consider in this beverage trend, consumers are focusing closely on the creativity and premium offerings of beverage blends.  Restaurants with strong beverage programs can play into health and variety by offering more versatile and customised options for core drinks.

Infusing beverages with natural elements is also a growing trend with consumers wanting to add more herbs, organic teas, fresh fruits and other natural ingredients to their beverages. Ordering a beverage has turned into an experience that is all about mixing around flavours and experiencing new, innovative flavour combos. Iced beverages such as frappes, have become a hit with caffeinated drinks, where vendors are offering their customers flavours like Iced Mocha and Iced Green or Herbal tea. In 2013 soft drink makers made $12billion in Australian sales, according to Euromonitor and the fastest growing categories were RTD teas and energy drinks. With new beverage blends becoming so popular over the past few years, consumption of classic colas and lemonades has been hit the hardest in sales. Roy Morgan research found that in an average seven days, consumption of soft drinks declined from 56% to 49% between January 2009 and December 2013. As the general public seek to cut down their calorie and sugar intake, infused teas and iced beverages will continue to bloom in the beverage industry.
Mango & Passionfruit Yoghurt Smoothie

Health and Wellbeing
As a growing numbers of consumers are becoming more health conscious, beverage companies are targeting these niche markets with flavours that reflect high nutritional value and provide more health benefits. New research by the Euromonitor has discovered that health and wellness beverages are continuing to increase in popularity, equating to 44% of sales in the non-alcoholic beverage market. While “naturally” healthy beverages make up 64% of the health and wellness beverage market, “organic” beverages still only account for 1%. Consumers are not just looking for low-calorie beverages, but for drinks that have additional health properties including pre-biotic and pro-biotic attributes. Consumers are turning away drinks that have artificial ingredients and are finding themselves buying more and more products that have natural flavouring and ingredients. As education surrounding health benefits of beverages rises, so does the demand for blended juices and yoghurt based smoothies.

Flavours that promote health benefits such as herbs, spices, honey, veggies and superfruits are dictating the flavour trends of the beverage market. The rising interest of superfruits is evidentially global, with pomegranate leading the charge accounting for over 40% of superfruit flavoured beverages.  The Beverage Consumer Trend report showed that more than two-fifths of consumers call for healthier beverages when dining out.

Vegetable base flavours are also becoming prominent in the beverage industry, with 55% of people globally making the conscious decision to eat as many vegetables as possible, companies are using vegetable bases for their blended beverages. Vegetable flavours such as tomato, pepper and cucumber are becoming particularly popular in smoothies, offering consumers the nutrients and benefits of vegetables in a mix of their own beverage. Cucumber for example can be used in a variety of beverages to deliver a subtle, fresh green note or a stronger cucumber taste depending on the usage. In the U.S between August 2013 and August 2014, there were 114 new fruit and vegetable combination beverage products introduced to the market. This included juices, enhanced waters, beers, spirits, drink mixes, sports drinks, coffees, teas, carbonated sports drinks and beverage powders. In order for beverage manufacturers to be ahead of the trends, flavour suppliers are constantly researching up-and-coming combinations that appeal in the taste and the health aspect of a desired beverage.

The Customised Drinking Experience 

There’s a distinct advantage to thinking outside the box. While there will always be consumers wanting cola and other traditional carbonated beverages, consumers are after something more. With more and more beverage blends being created and thrust upon consumers, it becomes important for beverage manufacturers to provide the best unique drinking experience for their consumers. Taste and mouth feel or mouth interactivity, create a close relationship between flavours and sensations. There are a number of flavour enhancers that can be added to a beverage to enhance the overall consumption experience. The use of natural ingredients such as menthol, capsicum, cinnamon, ginger and clove, enhance flavour experiences with tastes that you can actually feel. The beverage brand has advanced from leaving the sugary feel of soft drink to the smooth and natural feel from using fruits and natural products. When properly balanced the flavours and other aspects of the product base can enhance the overall impact of the product for consumers, making it more complex than just flavour alone.
Mixed Berry Yoghurt Smoothie

White Chocolate & Raspberry Frappe
New products and concepts are exciting and profitable for businesses that are wishing to build customer satisfaction and improve margins ahead of their competitors. Customisation is the key when it comes to keeping the customer satisfied. Being able to customise an order is not the same as making a special request; it’s a more important part of the overall dining experience, just like quality, value and service. Allowing customisation also helps repeat business as patrons return again and again to try different combinations. Iced tea and coffee continue to make an impact and particularly in warmer climates customers have come to expect them. This has led to the big opportunity of developing signature versions like an iced latte, chai, flavoured teas and more. Just about any beverage blend can be iced, as long as the flavour is ramped up enough to carry through any dilution. Using a stronger brew, cold brewing or chilling down a hot beverage in the cooler are all techniques that businesses are using to produce their unique iced beverage range.

A steak is a steak, in other words but a speciality refreshment attracts attention.

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