Cheers to the beverages we obsessed over in 2017!
Here’s a toast to 2017’s trending beverages; from kegs of cold-brewed coffee to a creamy-tea rich in history, and guilt-free mineral water that packs a punch of flavor! 2017 was a year driven by health-conscious consumers who expect craftsmanship and complex flavor profiles from their beverages. Consumer interest in ingredients with added health benefits shifted from a granola-cruncher trend to the everyday norm, inspiring big players like PepsiCo and Dunkin’ Donuts to jump on the movement.
Author: Meagen Helmlinger
Editor: Christine Sweet
Yes, it’s true, while the cold brew boom has been around for years and we’ve been enjoying this hand-crafted brew from our local third wave coffee shops, this year cold-brew coffee soared to new heights with expedited growth fueled by big name coffee heavyweights. Starbucks kicked it off by launching their own cold-brew in March 2015 with Dunkin’ Donuts following-suit in June 2016. These big names joining the cold-brew movement have been the driving force behind the 158 percent increase in cold-brew searches since 2015, according to the 2017 Google Beverage Trends Report. But don’t worry, Joyride Coffee Distributors is making sure you can now enjoy your favorite third wave cold brews such as Stumptown, Blue Bottle, and Intelligentsia on tap at work and at your favorite bars and restaurants with their offering of “Craft on Draft”.
Cold brew coffee is distinctly different from regularly brewed coffee in both the steeping process and the flavor. The cold-brew crafting process uses cold or room-temperature water and can take 12 to 24 hours to make, extracting more flavor from the beans creating a highly caffeinated concentrate. This process enhances the flavor of the coffee, making it more sweet and chocolatey and less bitter and acidic. Because of the brewing process, cold-brew coffee keeps its flavor longer, paving the way to be packaged as a ready-to-drink beverage in cans, bottles and even kegs.
The trend of complex earthy flavor profiles continues as we sip into our next beverage of the year - matcha! In 2017 earthy flavors saw a 25 percent increase in interest according to the Google 2017 Beverage Trend Report. Matcha topped the charts, with a 202 percent increase in consumer interest since 2015, while ginger and turmeric climbed their way up the ranks in matcha’s shadow.
Matcha meaning “powdered tea” is rich in both history and benefits. The finely ground green-tea-leaves, mostly known for their savory and creamy flavor in lattes and teas, are one of the most antioxidant-rich substances to exist and date back to ancient Japanese and Chinese tea ceremonies. As consumers become increasingly more health-conscious, it’s no wonder why matcha has taken off, with benefits like protection from heart disease and cancer, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, metabolism boosting, anti-aging, and fighting inflammation, tissue damage and high cholesterol. The powder, which gives the boost of caffeine without the jitters and inevitable crash, can be incorporated into a variety of products.
The matcha craze has proven to be lucrative with a cult-like following, so much so that the first matcha-only cafe, Cha Cha Matcha, recently opened a second NYC location in July 2017. This super hot spot promises awesome drinks and even better vibes, with frequent visitors like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner. The menu includes items infused with matcha such as drinks, pastries and even ice cream....yes, matcha ice cream. Other earthy flavors such as coconut, turmeric and ginger can be found in some of the healthy and hip items. The simplicity of earthy flavors and plant-based ingredients has taken over the food and beverage market and will continue to grow.
Gone are the days of sugary sodas with GMO ingredients. With craftsmanship and wellness trending in the beverage industry, bottled water has found it’s time to shine and has claimed the throne, overtaking carbonated soft drinks, as the no. 1 beverage in the United States according to the New York-based Beverage Marketing Corporation. Water is a life necessity, but that doesn’t mean that it should lack flavor and an experience. Consumers of 2017 are seeking safe clean enhanced water, such as premium or “cool waters” that are alkalized, carbonated, or naturally flavored and distributors are catering to them.
Even big players like Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo have released beverages that cater to this growing market. Two of Coca-Cola Company’s brands released flavored sparkling waters; Dasani Sparkling began to “Make Any Moment Sparkle” in March of 2014 and SmartWater Sparkling was released in October 2016. Following in Coca-Cola’s footsteps, PepsiCo released Aquafina Sparkling in the spring of 2016. This line of drinks is naturally sweetened, light and “Simply More Interesting”. With such big names catering to the “cool water” trend, premium water is making an impact on the beverage industry with anticipated market share growth.
While we are on the topic of all things sparkling in 2017, Studio OAX had a hand in the successful reboot of Mattoni Mineral Waters summer limited edition flavor, Mattoni Spritz, a non-alcoholic take on the classic Aperol Spritz. Mattoni Spritz is “Ready to Drink and Ready to Party” and is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds, as it blends the premium quality Mattoni mineral water with natural citrus flavors.
As choosing beverages that are mindful our wellness and crafted with care has become the norm, 2018 is already looking promising for continuation of these trends. A glimpse into 2018 given by Mintel, a leading marketing intelligence agency, claims that “transparency and traceability” will continue to develop in the food and beverage industries. One predicted trend for the new year is textured drinks--perhaps chewy. It seems that beverage innovation in 2018 will definitely be something we can bite into!