Flavor & The Menu current issue
Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Sweet & Social

Non-alc beverage strategies that win over Gen Z

By Mike Kostyo
May 16, 2023

Gen Z diners are driving much of the flavor innovation in non-alc beverages today. This demographic is often associated with the latest, trendiest drinks—colorful options for social media, over-the-top sweet beverages, energy boosters to power through sports or gaming, and globally inspired drinks. All these resonate with this diverse generation, and, across the country, menus serve up a dizzying array of everything from candy-flavored slushes and ombré-style lemonades to the latest cold coffee beverages.

So how do you capture Gen Z’s attention with flavor-packed beverage builds in an already crowded category? Here are five ways to excite younger customers with creative drink concepts.


About The Author


MIKE KOSTYO is the resident Trendologist and Associate Director at Datassential, one of the food industry’s leading market research and trends companies. In this role, he oversees the company’s content division, including its heritage Trendspotting publications and custom client publications, and he leads trend immersion tours and ideation sessions across the country. Mike was a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The A.V. Club” show; has been featured on WGN Radio, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” Kostyo has a master’s in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. In his spare time, he teaches cooking classes and participates in a monthly food swap in Chicago, which he co-founded.