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At
the start of each year we enjoy looking ahead and predicting what we feel will
make an impact in food and drink over the forthcoming 12 months, not just here
in the UK but across the globe. Aiming to inform clients and followers of key
trends and evolving consumer shifts, our insights are based upon a collaboration
of research, advancements within our business, findings from industry reports,
information from suppliers and worldwide developments. This year’s predictions
include the growth of some existing trends as well as emerging new ones. Providing
us all in the industry with varied opportunities to satisfy ever-evolving
consumer demands, we’d value the opportunity to discuss the potential impact
these trends might have on your business.

 

Continued Passion for
New Taste Experiences

 

As
consumers we’ve never before had so much choice and been so informed when it
comes to eating and drinking and many of us remain hungry for new, exciting and
inspired taste experiences. At the start of 2017 we predicted how consumers would
choose ‘experiences’ over ‘things’. Making memorable new drinking and eating
experiences that provide a different sensation, as well as delivering ample
opportunity for sharing on social media, continues to be increasingly important
and offer moments of enjoyment or escape from our daily routines. This trend will
continue to manifest itself in many ways from innovative new flavour experiences,
to a focus on ingredients and textures in both food and drink, inspired by
varying cultures.

 

Flavour
Experimentation in Soft Drinks

 

Modern
consumers are craving innovation throughout all food and beverage categories
and are willing to experiment with flavours. According to GlobalData reported
by Frutarom, curiosity is the clear main driver for flavour experimentation
with 62% of global carbonated drinks consumers experimenting with new and
unusual food and drink flavours at least occasionally. Coupled with the rising share of
non-drinkers and mindful-drinkers seeking alternatives to alcohol, speciality
soft drinks are changing an experience from something mediocre to one that’s
fresh, innovative and memorable. We’re choosing soft drinks with varied and
distinctive flavours, intense and zesty aromas and moreish, fresh or healthy combinations.
Many bars, hotels, restaurants and supermarkets are now presenting a more
inspired soft drink offering as a result of us all being more adventurous with
flavour.

 

Alongside
the boom we’ve seen in adult soft drinks throughout 2017, we’re expecting to
see more sophisticated flavours emerge this year that appeal to a more
discerning palate. Savory, salty and spicy flavours such as chilli, ginger,
cinnamon and turmeric appeal to those looking for an exciting taste whilst also
offering an alternative to those avoiding sugary drinks too. Lemongrass, green
tea and guava are seen as exclusive and healthy ingredients. Whilst traditional
ingredients such as orange, lemon, grape, pineapple and peach will still remain
popular, especially when combined with other flavours such as herbs, flowers or
berries; again offering a more memorable drinks experience.

 

Alcohol-Inspired
Flavours

 

There’s
also a trend for alcohol inspired flavours in non-alcoholic drinks too. One
example of this is the Seedlip brand, now served worldwide in cocktail bars and
luxury hotels, it’s the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit made to “solve
the dilemma of what to drink when you’re not drinking”. Seedlip also offers
many options for mixologists to create exciting cocktails that are novel and
experiential. Caleb Simpson, Managing Director of Simpsons Beverages commented “With
more and more people choosing to drink less alcohol the adult soft drinks
market offers so much opportunity for further innovations in 2018, both in flavours
and production methods.”

 

Tonic O’Clock

 

Alongside
the gin boom of recent years there’s also been a huge rise in tonic water and
it now occupies its own niche worldwide. With a focus on health and many
avoiding sugar and high calories, tonic is also being increasingly drunk alone. According to Drinks
International in 2015, it was Fever-Tree that “fizzed up the category” doing
well across Europe and in the US. Transparency Market Research predicts the global tonic water
market to rise from 2017 to 2025 to become worth US$2.45 billion by
the end of 2025 from US$1.52 billion. And there’s plenty of diverse
flavours to cater to different palates and further drive demand. In the
Netherlands, South Feel Ginger Cardamom Premium Tonic Water is a popular choice.
Described as a bartender’s favourite in Belgium is Syndrome Velvet Premium
Tonic, containing bitter orange, thyme and natural quinine. Whilst here in the
UK the Peter Spanton Tonic range uses flavours such as lemongrass, cardamom and
even chocolate. At Simpsons we can create bespoke tonic ranges for clients as
well as supplying our own brand of quintessentially British range of boutique
Flair Tonics.

 

Exciting Textures in
Food and Drink

 

In
Mintel’s latest Food & Drinks Trends Report, they state “In 2018, the
sound, feel and satisfaction that texture provides will become more important
to companies and consumers alike.” Detailing that texture is “the latest tool”
in alluring the senses, following on from colour, it will showcase food and
drinks that “are perceived as fresh, functional, filling or simply fun.”
Concepts include the pulp or chunks of fruits and vegetables in juices, “chewy
beverages” and foods with extra layers offering an additional crispy crunch.
Mintel’s report details consumers will buy into the trend as “Asia is a model for the potential of unexpected
applications of texture in food and drink becausethe region hosts a range of
beverages with pulp, tapioca pearls, and extra carbonation along with food that
also boasts innovative textures that might be unheard of in other parts of the
world.” We’ll be looking out for unexpected textures and combinations of
textures in food and drinks designed to delight and excite.

 

The Power of Plants

 

The
Drinks Business predict 2018 will be the year “when veggie and vegan cuisine
goes mainstream”. Ditching meat, or eating less of it, was a key food trend in
2017 and this will continue into 2018 as we aspire for healthier lifestyles and
we further embrace the nutritional benefits associated with plant based foods
and drinks. According to restaurant consultancy group
Baum & Whiteman in New York, who named “plant-based” the food
trend of 2018, plant-based foods will become the new organic. Spices, herbs, fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, grains, nut
milks and botanicals are being leveraged for their fresh, pure and traditional
connections with wellbeing. The rise of the ‘flexitarian’ lifestyle sees
consumers experiment with slight changes to their diets, whether it’s an
occasional meal or drink, or a switch to coconut or almond milk. It’s becoming more commonplace to see the vegan
trademark on drinks including soft drinks, ciders, beers and wines.

 

Premiumisation

 

According to CGA’s Going Premium Report,
premiumisation is still evolving with 43% of consumers likely to pay extra to
upgrade to a higher quality premium or super-premium drink. And it’s not just
the mature market. They continue to report that 54% of 18-34 year are likely to
choose a high-quality drink. As we continue to seek out new experiences, we see
premiumisation continue across spirits, beers, soft drinks and mixers. CGA also
report on the rise of ‘super-premium’ spirits as more small-batch and artisan brands
emerge across gin, vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila and more.

 

Its
clear we increasingly care about what ingredients are in our drinks and seek
fresh new natural, authentic and diverse experiences from both our foods and
drinks. Using the world’s finest ingredients, at Simpsons Beverages we can help
you to create unique, bespoke drinks from inception to delivery. We can assist
your entire project to your design and budget requirements.  Whatever your idea for a new drink may be,
we’re here to help. Get in touch to discuss your requirements today.

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