Consumers spending $181 billion on beverages
Restaurants hoping to increase check spend should pour some energy into their beverage offerings, according to Technomic’s 2017 Away-From-Home Beverage Study. It found that nonalcohol beverages are a large and growing part of the foodservice industry.
Combined sales from soft drinks, teas, coffees, juices, cold-brew coffee, energy drinks and enhanced waters accounted for more than $181 billion in annual sales and totaled more than 113 billion servings in 2016, David Henkes, senior principal at Technomic, said in a company press release.
Although soda and regular coffee continue to drive beverage volume overall, formats like specialty coffee (hot and iced), bottled water and energy drinks are expected to continue their already rapid growth in the next three-to-five years.
"Beverages account for $1 out of every $5 consumers spend away from home," Henkes said. "They are a critical part of the overall experience and, because of their central importance, it's absolutely crucial for restaurant operators and their suppliers to understand how innovation impacts consumer satisfaction."
While taste and refreshment still dominated the consumer mindset, the report found an increased emphasis on beverage health and functionality due to demographic (i.e., generational, ethic) and regulatory (e.g., regional soda taxes, mandatory calorie labeling) shifts.
No longer are consumers simply looking for a convenient meal compliment; rather, they are coming to foodservice operations seeking fulfillment of diverse beverage occasions like snacks, pick-me-ups or meal replacements. As such, manufacturers and operators need to come prepared with multifunctional items that can serve a variety of dayparts.
"Flavored waters, plant-based milks, cold-brew coffee, aguas frescas and fresh-pressed juices are some of the categories taking advantage of modern consumer beverage preferences," said Patrick Egan, manager of research and insights.
Additional key takeaways from the report include:
- Diet beverages sweetened with zero-calorie sugar substitutes were no longer perceived to be healthy. Other, more natural sweeteners such as agave, Stevia and honey are among the better-for-you sweeteners capturing increased consumer and operator attention.
- While brand-name beverages are still critical to consumers — more than 50 percent considered brand name either somewhat or very important —younger generations tend to downplay brand importance relative to older generations.
- Pricing and taste remained the top two attributes operators emphasized when sourcing their beverage products.
Topics: Coffee / Specialty Beverages