Kerry on Christmas beverage trends for 2018: “Expect indulgence, alternative concepts & premiumization”

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09 Aug 2018 --- Dessert-inspired treats, iced drinks, premium ingredients and unexpected flavors will be prominent on beverage menus across Europe this Christmas, according to research from Kerry Taste & Nutrition (Kerry). Most of Europe is still experiencing the effects of a very hot summer and heatwaves throughout, but flavor thoughts are already turning to the festive season, a crucial sales period in the beverage market. Kerry has therefore announced this year’s consumer trends, key flavors and easy-to-make concepts, based on its proprietary research tool to help customers drive footfall.

With 41 percent of consumers looking to discover new products and a quarter sharing photos of their drinks on social media (Kerry Compass & Discovery, 2017), offering a menu of great-tasting, visually appealing and on-trend beverages will be key for coffee shops this Christmas.

First, Christmas is all about indulgence: 72 percent of UK consumers agree that Christmas is a time to treat yourself, and 66 percent say they seek products that help them unwind and relax. Meanwhile, 70 percent of European consumers said they find authentic hot chocolate more appealing than healthier, low-calorie alternatives (Kerry Compass & Discovery, 2017). Kerry predicts dessert-inspired concepts such as peppermint hot chocolate and gingerbread and caramel frappé will be in high demand.

Another emerging trend is alternative festive drinks. For example, iced drinks are expected to grow in popularity with 66 percent of 18-24-year-olds saying that chilled coffee is a good alternative to sugary drinks (Kerry Compass & Discovery, 2017). In addition, the growing preference for coffee alternatives will allow coffee shop owners to appeal to a broader consumer set with a menu of hot chocolates, cold brews, iced teas and more.

Click to EnlargePremiumization is another key trend, with new taste experiences and high-quality ingredients creating a point of differentiation for 48 percent of European consumers (Kerry Compass & Discovery, 2017). Hot chocolate, which was the most popular beverage platform last Christmas (2017, Kerry Eat the Streets), will continue to drive purchase with growing interest in sophisticated flavor pairings and multi-layering techniques. Allowing consumers to experience the “craft behind the creation” will make beverages more engaging and enhance the experience from preparation to consumption.

To keep menus on trend, coffee shops should ensure that a mixture of classic and alternative flavors are featured, including peppermint, salted caramel, gingerbread, orange and spiced chai, according to Kerry. 

“The festive season is a great time for people to experiment with beverage choices that evoke feelings of nostalgia and indulgence, and we want to make it easier for our customers to serve delicious drinks that stand out but are convenient to make,” says John Kelly, Senior Marketing Manager for Beverages at Kerry Taste & Nutrition. “With the combined expertise of our development teams and nutritionists, as well as our portfolio of high-quality ingredient solutions, Kerry can deliver great-tasting, simply-crafted concepts to help customers drive sales during the Christmas period.”

Kelly tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “As iced beverages continue to grow in tea, coffee and cocoa, we will see in an increase in the proportion of iced products on menus, along with the expansion into new platforms such as cold brew. We will also see healthier alternatives sitting alongside indulgent treats, during the festive period. The preference for non-coffee beverages will continue to increase, putting coffee shop operators in a strong position to appeal to a wider consumer set, with a strong mix of coffee and non-coffee beverages such as hot chocolate, cold brews, iced teas and much more.”

“Although we are expecting new flavors to emerge this festive period, such as licorice and spices, we are also expecting to see interesting blends of nostalgic flavors that we know and love. An example being our gingerbread and caramel frappe,” he adds.

Today, Kerry reported a solid underlying business performance for the half year ended 30 June 2018. Taste & Nutrition was up by 4.1 percent volume growth and Consumer Foods was up by 1.3 percent volume growth in H1.

By Elizabeth Green

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