Soft Drinks – what should you be offering your customers this year?
The UK soft drinks market is massive, said to be worth £15.5 billion. However, with consumers demanding healthier options and more sophisticated flavours and the sugar tax about to hit manufacturers, soft drinks producers are having to innovate.
This means we’re likely to see a whole raft of new soft drinks over the coming months – and with more customers than ever choosing non-alcoholic beverages to go with their meals, that’s good news.
So what should you look out for?
Well ‘premiumisation’ is one of the buzz-words of the drinks industry. Following the success of the reinvention of many alcoholic drinks, brands such as Fentimans, Fevertree and Belvoir Fruit Farms are offering soft drinks products with higher quality ingredients and authentic provenance.
Botanicals are another growing trend. Think gin, but without the alcohol. Brands such as Seedlip offer great alternatives to gin and vodka, and can be served with mixers such as elderflower tonic.
Vegetables in drinks have been around for a little while, and in addition to the established drinks such as kale and cucumber, more unusual savoury flavours, including butternut squash or sweet potato are beginning to find their way into smoothies and juices.
If you think your customers might prefer something a little less adventurous than something they’d expect to have in a risotto, then don’t forget to look for new launches of nostalgic classics. New soft drink ranges include recognisable and popular cream soda and ginger beer, along with inventive new options like rhubarb soda or sea buckthorn juice and strawberry.
Make your customers aware
A recent study showed that 72% of customers would try something different if they were more aware of the choice there was.
As well as listing the great selection available, you could develop a menu with recommended food and soft drink pairings. Some work has already been done on this – for example, grilled sea bass goes very well with elderflower pressé, as does goats’ cheese. Pork sausages with raspberry lemonade is another good combination. But feel free to add your own ideas!
Since 48% of people prefer restaurants that serve soft drinks that are 100% natural, highlight those that are. Similarly, if your soft drinks are supplied by smaller craft producers, let your customers know – especially if you’re supporting a producer in your own local area. Sustainability and provenance are becoming increasingly important factors in consumer choice.
And if you want to add a bit of theatre to your soft drinks offerings – why not devise a Mocktail menu?
If you’re inspired to find out more about the soft drinks available from Total Foodservice, have a chat with our sales team.