Beverage Trends

Industry Experts Predict These 10 Beverage Trends Will Hit Menus In 2020

S&D Coffee & Tea and Nation's Restaurant News Tap Restaurant Operators to Determine Top Trends
Various beverages
The Future of Beverages - 2020 Trend Forecast

S&D Coffee & Tea recently teamed up with Nation's Restaurant News to predict the top beverage trends most likely to appear on restaurant menus in 2020. Drawn from a comprehensive survey* commissioned among restaurant operators nationwide, along with an in-depth audit of market insights and testimonials from influential industry insiders, the report is diverse in its findings. Trends range from the nitrogenation of coffee to beneficial adaptogens and an increased demand for sustainable sourcing. Overall, the trends revealed in this report offer insights into what beverage menus will look like in 2020 and beyond.

The following is a summary of three of the top beverage trends included in the 2020 report:

  • The Nitrogenation of Cold Brew: Nitrogenation (permeating liquid with nitrogen) is gaining popularity among coffee drinkers for its smooth and creamy mouthfeel and is beginning to pop up everywhere from independent coffee shops to convenience chains. In addition to coffee, tea is also being nitrogenated with increasing frequency. Expect to see even more beverages (e.g. lemonade, aguas frescas) follow suit.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: About 20 percent of operators take sustainability issues (such as fair-trade sourcing) into account when deciding what beverages to serve, and nearly double that number recognize sustainability as a growing trend. This is directly in response to growing consumer demand for sustainably sourced ingredients, especially within the coffee industry. In light of this movement, many American coffee roasters are shifting away from commodity product and toward beans sourced directly from farmers or farming collectives.
  • Drinks That Sparkle: As consumers seek out alternatives to traditional soda, and seltzer popularity continues to surge, operators are making their own carbonated drinks and also serving smaller-production "craft" sodas. When surveyed, 20 percent of operators predict the emergence of carbonated coffees and teas in 2020.

Additionally, the report takes a deeper dive into the following seven trends:

  • Next-Level Frozen Beverages: Frozen mixology technique called "switching"
  • Beverages with Added Health Benefits: Drinks containing adaptogens, protein and MCT oil
  • CBD in Beverages: CBD in coffee and tea specifically
  • Revitalized Energy Drinks: Performance beverages that are more complex
  • H2O-Plus: Water with added benefits
  • Plant-Based Drinks: Beverages exclusively derived from plants
  • Better-for-You Booze: Alcohol-free adult beverages

"It's an exciting time to be in the beverage industry," said Ron Hinson, president & CEO of S&D. "As Americans seek out beverages with more benefits, suppliers and operators have the opportunity to innovate and develop new solutions that will appeal to this increasingly savvy consumer."

"Beverages have long been high-margin items, but it has always been a struggle to convince customers to upgrade from free tap water," said Bret Thorn, senior food & beverage editor of Nation's Restaurant News. "The insights in this report will help provide foodservice operators with the tools they need to give their guests drinks that they're eager to buy."

How the beverage industry evolves in 2020 will be influenced by many factors and the trends uncovered in this 2019 report will no doubt be in the mix. Please visit NRN.com to view the complete 2020 Beverage Trend Report.

*Survey Methodology
On September 4, 2019, Informa Engage emailed invitations to participate in an online survey to members of NRN. The emails included a live link to the survey to make it easier for invitees to respond. Each respondent was afforded the opportunity to enter a drawing for one of four $100 Amazon gift cards. Follow-up emails were sent to non-respondents on September 10, 2019. The invitations and survey were branded with the Nation's Restaurant News name and logo. By September 16, 2019, Informa Engage had received 413 usable responses. The findings in this report are based on those responses as well as an audit of market insights, expert interviews and testimonials from industry insiders.



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