Build an on-trend beverage program

On any given day, most people would say it’s a safe bet that the average consumer grabs a cup of hot coffee or tea as they start their day. Those of us in the beverage business would want to know more about said consumer before placing our bets.

That’s because we know that the temperature of the beverage in the cup goes down with the age of the drinker. Like they do with all things, the kids are flipping the script. Gen Z (and their younger siblings in Gen Alpha) take their beverages on ice.

Alpha and Z are choosing cold beverage

Mocktails, refreshers, mangonada, cold pressed juice, Arnold Palmers…. these are just a few of the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverages on menus. In the retail sector, coolers are stocked with hydration beverages and energy drinks (usually fueled by a caffeine alternative). It is Generation Alpha and Gen Z who are driving these trends.

As Gen Z enters their late teens and early 20s, they’re buying power grows. While Gen Alpha is too young to have their own spending money, their elder Millennial and Gen X parents spend according to what their little ones want.

These parents don’t hesitate to take their littles out to eat. In fact, Datassential says 90% of parents say they take their kids out to eat at least once per week. When they do go out, 84% of the adult said they pick restaurants that both kids and adults enjoy.

In other words: ignore these young buyers at your peril.

The tastes and preferences of younger consumers pushes the innovation limits of food and beverage companies. Gen Z is savvy enough to say exactly what they want in a beverage. Datassentials tells us they prefer bold colors, no artificial ingredients and functional ingredients– especially hydration. On one hand they want bold flavors that evoke nostalgia; on the other they want flavors that push their taste boundaries.

Since polling minors is not an option, you have to do some digging to find out what Gen Alpha likes. Start with social media, and you can see these youngsters align fairly well with the big kids. They want the drink to look pretty (the bolder the color the better), they want it on ice (just search for “refreshers” on your favorite social app), and they want hydration (raise your hand if your 10-year-old is obsessed with Prime).

Foodservice lags behind retail

Buyers can find plenty of options in stores. Retail brands have kept up with this demand for better-for-you, functional beverages, coming up with innovative ways to quench our thirst. However, there is no guarantee you’ll find function + color + bold flavor on the menu at your favorite restaurant.

According to Euromonitor, the US functional beverage market of over $48 billion is expected to grow 6.6% through 2025. With the recent launch of McDonald’s CosMc’s concept and the ever-expanding beverage LTO menu at the average cafe chains, it’s clear the savviest and most innovative foodservice operators are starting to take the hint.

Look up and down the menus of emerging fast casual and coffee operators where these younger demographic groups spend the majority of their foodservice dollars. You’re beginning to see additional no- or low-caffeine cold refreshment options with more complex flavors than the traditional one-note offering — as well as no or low-sugar options. And more and more, you’re seeing functional attributes that aid in immunity, gut health, hydration, energy, and mood boosts.

Information is power

And, just as more consumers are reading the labels at their local grocery stores, they are doing the same online. They are a click and scroll away (or a Google search if necessary) from seeing the nutrition facts panels and ingredient statements. Descriptions that incorporate words like “fresh”, “real” and “natural” carry more weight than ever, and it’s no wonder that menu offerings across both food and beverage that convey these attributes are winning in sales.

As an operator, it is crucial that your beverage program aligns with what these consumers are demanding– no matter what kind of facility you’re running. If it doesn’t, you’re missing out on a lot of revenue.

We know that there is a gap in foodservice that creates an unmet need state for many consumers. These eager and influential purchasers are being left without a beverage option that meets their desired purchase intent — and leaving operators without a sale.

Function is now on the menu

That’s why we created All Friends Beverage Infusions. It helps operators grow a beverage program that complements the bold food choice we now see on menu boards around the country. It helps operators capture dollars that would not otherwise have been spent, breathing new life into beverage programs.

All Friends Beverage Infusions are the cold refreshment option operators can count on for delicious, high quality, and all-natural beverages with exciting flavors that check all the boxes your Gen Z and Gen Alpha customers can think of.

Made with real fruit juice, way less sugar than your typical soft drink, no artificial ingredients or preservatives, and packed in plant-based packaging, we’re supporting a more delicious option for the balanced lifestyle consumers are aspiring to lead. And because of their operational efficiency, All Friends offers both ease of use and flexible LTO opportunities.

It’s time to make sure your beverage program is delivering what consumers really want. You can bet on All Friends Beverage Infusions to give today’s consumer the ‘better for you’ beverage they crave.

All Friends Blueberry Chai Glass
All Friends Mango Chili Glass
All Friends Strawberry Hibiscus Glass
All Friends Pineapple Ginger Glass