Beverages have long been a great source of profit in food service but getting customers to upgrade from free water is often a challenge. That’s especially true these days as consumers are seeking ever-new ways to stimulate their palates, improve their health and, in this era of sensory overload, stay interested in what they’re drinking.
To make it easier for operators who are trying to figure out what, exactly, they should be pouring, Nation’s Restaurant News and S&D Coffee & Tea surveyed operators and consulted with trend experts to determine what the biggest trends in drinking will be in 2020.
Among those trends is nitrogenation — infusing beverages with nitrogen to give them a creamier mouthfeel. Already popular in cold brew coffee and stout beer, nitrogen will be appearing in more drinks in 2020.
We’ll also see consumers pay more attention to where their drinks come from — asking tough questions about sustainable sourcing, while beverage directors get creative with reducing waste.
From a health perspective, traditional soda consumption will continue to fall, but we will be seeing lower-calorie sparkling drinks, often with functional ingredients such as adaptogens, purported to treat multiple ailments, and nootropics, which are intended to improve brain function.
Additionally, you can expect new iterations of frozen drinks, better spirit-free cocktails and plant-based drinks ranging from green juices to chlorophyll water.
Those trends and more are available in the industry insight study titled The future of drinks: Outlook for 2020
Watch NRN senior food & beverage editor Bret Thorn discuss the report in this video.