In line with their desire for uniqueness and variety, younger consumers are ordering a wider selection of beverages. Nearly half of 18-34-year-olds (46%) are ordering more beverages with unique flavors now than they were in recent years, according to a recent Technomic Flavor Consumer Trend Report. Here are some ways operators are offering up unique twists on flavor combinations, pairing herbal notes with fruity favorites and catering to a rising sweet tooth trend.
Last year, one popular flavor trend included the floral note of hibiscus. Mentions of hibiscus in non-alcohol beverages increased 23% over the past year, while hibiscus incidence in adult beverages more than doubled (56%), according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Panera currently offers diners a prickly pear hibiscus fresca, while a signature item from Bahama Breeze Island Grille is its hibiscus margarita, which pairs the flavor with press sugarcane juice and tequila. For its Bleeding Rose cocktail, Houlihan’s combines hibiscus tea with Aperol and freezes the mixtures into ice cubes. As the ice cube melts, it adds new depths of flavor to the drink.
An herbal twist is another way to serve up an unexpected flavor combination to consumers. Snap Kitchen recently sold a spicy basil lemonade, and Shake Shack put a refreshing spin last summer on its strawberry lemonade with the addition of mint. Roti’s line of housemade juices and teas last year heavily focused on herbal additions, included a blueberry basil lemonade and an iced fresh mint black tea.
And an interest in sweet flavors is also on the rise: 52% of consumers say sweet flavors are appealing or extremely appealing, up from 47% in 2009, according Technomic’s Beverage Consumer Trend Report. Popular sweet flavors include tropical fruit favorites like mango and passion fruit. Joe’s Crab Shack menued a Passion Fruit Palmer, a blend of lemonade, tea and passion fruit syrup. The Cheesecake Factory serves their frozen iced mango with a mix of tropical juices, mango and a coconut blended with ice and a swirl of raspberry puree, combining two sweet trending flavors into one beverage option.
This post is sponsored by Monin