According to the report, overall sales of non-alcoholic beverages have increased for one in four operators (28 percent), mainly because of increasing customer interest. There are lots of reasons your guests may not be drinking, so offer them trendy flavors, cool garnishes and premium ingredients.
Bigger beverage menus, focus on wellness mean more room for teetotaling drinks
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More than half of the foodservice operators surveyed said the reason they’re selling more non-alcoholic drinks is because they’ve increased their beverage menu size, and with it more options are popping up. And 38 percent of operators attribute the sales spike to the push for healthier/more functional menu items.
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Lemonade is one of consumers most-loved non-alcoholic beverages (tied with milkshakes and orange juice). And there are lots of lemonade descriptors on menus: organic, clean-label, non-GMO, seasonal, local and small-batch to name a few. But there’s one descriptor that makes the highest percent of consumers willing to spend more on lemonade…
Fresh-squeezed is king
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Of the consumers surveyed, 34 percent would pay for fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Classic lemonade ‘overwhelmingly dominates’
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According to the report, consumers aren’t as enamored with flavored lemonades as the real-deal classic. And 76 percent of operators only offer plain lemonade, while 24 percent offer both plain and flavored versions.
Iced tea is the place for ‘safe experimentation’
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While lemonade is most often kept plain, iced tea is where operators can successfully add fruit, herbal and floral infusions, either through fresh ingredients or by adding a shot of flavored syrup, the report found.
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Peach and mango are the most popular iced-tea enhancers, and other refreshing additions showing up on menus are hibiscus, pomegranate, stone fruit, blackberry, pineapple, jasmine and lavender.
Smoothies can be sugary
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But that’s “less of a concern for Gen Z,” according to the report. Just 5 percent of Gen Z consumers say “I only drink low-sugar varieties” of smoothies, and 60 percent say they only drink regular (standard amount of sugar) smoothies.
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Most consumers—65 percent—have heard of a freakshake but haven’t tried the over-the-top milkshake with such items as frosting, sprinkles, donuts, gummy candy, hot fudge, slices of cake, marshmallows, cookies…you name it…on top. But freakshakes are catching on, as 26 percent of consumers have tried it and 35 percent are interested in trying it.
Slushies are coming out of the c-store and into the mainstream
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Recreation venues are actually top-of-mind slushie sources for 71 percent of consumers. C-stores are still known for slushies, however, with 69 percent of consumers heading there first for their slushie fix. There’s strong interest in the QSR segment, too, with 60 percent of consumers in search of slushies there.