In the Kitchen
3 healthy drink trends to put on your radar
By Colleen Cross
I can be tempted when I see an interesting selection of teas, flavoured waters or diet soft drinks such as those you find at the fancy self-serve dispensing machines that offer a gazillion choices.
I have a hunch others feel the same way and that there is untapped potential in the healthy drink market for pizzerias. The beverage market in Canada has boomed over the last decade and continues to grow, Statistics Canada’s numbers tell us.
Average monthly sales of non-alcoholic drinks in all food services have shown a steady incline from over $3.5 billion in August 2007 to over $5.5 billion in June 2017.
Full-service restaurants have seen their average monthly drink sales grow from about $1.5 million in June 2007 to nearly $2.5 billion in June 2007. Limited-service restaurants have seen similar growth.
Pizzerias can only benefit from staying in touch with drink trends and offering interesting and healthier choices. As these three trends suggest, it is wise to keep health in mind when stocking the drinks cooler.
- Hybrids: Non-alcoholic beverages include hot drinks like coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and cold options like soft drinks, iced tea, energy drinks, juices, cold brew, milkshakes and bottled water. Some divisions are coming down and beverages melding together, a recent study by research firm Euromonitor suggests. For example, coffee and tea is percolating into soft drinks.
- Hydration: Concerned about their health, people are becoming more active. Keeping well hydrated goes along with that healthy lifestyle. The Euromonitor research is saying carbonated bottled water, coconut and other plant water, liquid concentrates and ready-to-drink coffees and teas, benefit from this demand.
- Health: Consumers are also wary of their sugar intake and shy away from artificial ingredients such as sweeteners, colours and artificial flavours. This affects sports drink sales, research firm Technomic says. Diet drinks sweetened with
zero-calorie sugar substitutes (for example, aspartame) are not perceived to be healthy by everyone. Other, more natural, sweeteners such as agave, Stevia and
honey are getting customers’ attention.
On the hot side, high-quality coffees and teas are big drawing cards and there is solid research to back up their health benefits. Recent coffee research suggests coffee drinkers have lower blood pressure, fewer cardiovascular problems and were living longer. Tea has polyphenols that are powerful antioxidants, the Tea Association of Canada reports.
You can keep in step with these trends by making small, immediate changes to your menu. A webinar by Fast Casual magazine and food company Litehouse Inc. last year suggested a first step restaurants can make toward the clean-eating movement is to add healthier drinks and snacks that are ready to go and don’t require extra prep time and buying different ingredients.
When promoting your beverage options, however, consider taking a forward-thinking approach. In a recent report, the U.K.’s Royal Society for Public Health argues that restaurants should be rewarded for promoting healthier drinks (and for not upselling those proven to be unhealthy). This has not happened yet, but there is plenty of concern about the role promotion plays in customer’ decisions. The point is, you can offer a wide variety of drinks and still be sensitive to the problems of obesity, diabetes and other health issues in the way you present them.
Customers will notice and know you care about more than just your bottom line.