As an agency specialising in food, drink and hospitality, we are always on the lookout for new trends. Today’s discerning consumers are more knowledgeable than ever, and with something new landing in their social media feeds daily, they expect to be able to go out in trade and try it for themselves. Noora Rautiainen takes a look at eight of the latest drinks trends.
- Low and no alcohol options
Over the last year or so, we’ve seen an increase in health-conscious consumers opting for low and no alcohol beverages, and the demand for these types of drinks shows no sign of slowing down. According to a 2017 Nielsen report, the value of non-alcoholic wine in the UK rose by 66% last year, while no-alcohol beer enjoyed 37% value growth. Recent launches include Seedlip – a premium non-alcoholic spirit and Gordon’s ready-made low-alcohol drinks.
- Ethical Wines
A standout trend in the wine trade in recent times has been the rise in organic, natural, biodynamic and vegan wines. Sales of eco-friendly vino are also up by 36% year-on-year at Waitrose. This again links to the rise of new health-aware consumers and their desire to know the provenance and story of what they are drinking.
Great news for rum lovers! Apparently dark spirits will increasingly be in the spotlight this year, with rum being the flavour of 2018/19. The WSTA states that rum sales have broken the £1bn mark, while analysts Mintel say dark, golden and spiced rum put in a “strong performance” in the last year with off-trade volume sales rising by 27%.
- Think Pink!
This year gin went pink. The consumer obsession of photographing food and drink and sharing that moment via social media continues to grow. Brand owners have had to adapt and make their products as appealing as possible. Pink gin’s popularity increased rapidly with launch after launch of blushing botanicals, kicking off with Gordon’s Pink. This was followed by Beefeater Pink, Tanqueray’s Flor de Sevilla and basil-flavoured O’ndina gin from Campari in April and finally Tanqueray Lovage this spring.
- Peak craft?
All things craft are still booming in the UK, with one in three British adults now drinking craft beer, according to research from Carlsberg. Kantar Worldpanel also found sales of craft beer across the off-trade rose by just over 46% year on year to reach £138 million. This growth has been in response to consumer demand for higher quality and flavour as well as more choice – all of which independent craft breweries are able to offer. Keep an eye on Tiny Rebel Brewery and Siren Craft Brew – picked by trade title The Morning Advertiser as two to watch this year
- The rise of the hybrids
With competition to launch something innovative and unique being so fierce, brands have focused on appealing to consumers by continuing to create hybrid drinks. For example, whisky being distilled in casks previously used for storing IPA beers and ice wines – typically dessert wines produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine – producers of all sizes have been experimenting with ingredients and techniques in order to find something fresh and exciting.
- Planet-saving packaging
The UK has seen a huge push in recycling and using recyclable materials in a bid to save our trees, oceans and well, the entire planet. Brand owners have had no choice but to respond to this demand. For example, drinks giant Diageo has set out to make 100% of its packaging recyclable or reusable and sustainably source all paper packaging to ensure zero net deforestation by 2020.
- A sparkling future
It’s safe to say the UK’s love for sparkling wine continues to thrive, but with Brexit looming, there could be a greater space for English fizz on supermarket shelves in the future. More than 120 million bottles of bubbly were sold in British stores last year. The on-trade has also made room for English bubbles with pubco Fuller’s reporting sales of English sparkling wine up by 50% this year.