Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Functional Beverages Trend Insights Insights into the texture trend from our panel of experts

Call in Denver features function in its turmeric and tonic beverage, served either hot or cold, boozy or not.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonnie Sirotek | Paper Laundry

Consumers are starting to think about food as fuel, and they’re looking to employ functional additions to items they already consume. Super fruits, adaptogens, CBD, probiotics, anti-inflammatory agents and vitamins, minerals, amino acids and micronutrients are all being sought out for all sorts of reasons.

Consumers are also starting to focus on particular desired outcomes. They’re seeking out ingredients that aim to improve their cognitive functioning: MCT oil, for example, or even dark chocolate. Collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are all now being consumed in beverages, bars and even candy to stave off aging and to keep skin looking supple and healthy. Adaptogens and CBD are being used to obtain balance and reduce stress.

There is a real opportunity for foodservice operators to educate consumers about functional ingredients. It’s one thing to list turmeric on a menu, quite another to understand what needs to be served with turmeric and in what quantity to unleash the actual benefits. Operators who start to invest in their own education on how to offer efficacious quantities and methods for the ingredients they offer will win here.
Elizabeth Moskow

In our health-obsessed, have-it-all culture, it is no surprise that alcoholic beverages are taking on a health halo. In a recent Culinary Visions study, 73 percent of consumers said they enjoy superfoods that serve specific
functional purposes.
Sharon Olson

Functional Sipping – both nonalcoholic and boozy beverages are getting a winning dose of wellness-promoting ingredients.

From CBD in cocktails to MCT oil, collagen and grass-fed butter in coffee, many functional ingredients can be used here. But remember that it’s all about flavor, and be sure to mask any off flavors.
Rick Perez

As consumers pay more attention to ingredients, they look for items they perceive as healthy or better for you. Adult beverage companies can add ingredients to drinks that are perceived to be better for you (like electrolytes and vitamins added to beer) but they can’t make any kind of health claims. They are relying on consumers’ understanding and connecting the dots based on ingredients.

We are already seeing beet, kale and carrot move into mainstream adult beverages and alcohol-free drinks. Start with one or two functional beverage options that lean into your brand position. Make something with the ingredients that showcases some skill or knowledge. Using functional ingredients is good, but using them in a way that tastes good and is craveable is great!
David Commer

CBD, wellness and the customer’s now-prevalent focus on health are creating more opportunities in this area for all beverages. CBD can be added to cocktails in an elixir form or in bitters. I like to mix it with flavorful bitters like Angostura, then dispense it from a dasher bottle.
Kathy Casey

Consumers are hoping to optimize their entire lives, getting the most out of things, from their home-temperature gauge to their workouts. It makes a lot of sense that they’re going all-in on optimizing their eating and drinking habits as well. How can they pack the most ‘X’ into each bite or sip?
Elizabeth Moskow

From the Jan/Feb 2019 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.