At the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago, the Trending Today Preview features the specialty beverage movement– highlighting the various types of craft beverage trends, including coffee, beer, cocktails and water, along with specialty glassware and accessories, craft beer & cocktail kits and more. We chat with store owners, retail experts, wholesalers and product developers to gain insight into what is going down in the beverage sector.
by Michelle Hespe
Today, with the growing war on waste and a focus on taking care of the planet, teamed with people looking for healthier ways of living, our approach to beverages has drastically changed, for the better.
Even if beverages are not the focus of your business, you’d be surprised at how many products cater to a person’s drinking needs. Some prevalent examples are DIY beer kits for the home, a plethora of blenders, shakers and accessories for mocktails and cocktails, juicing machines, kombucha kits, trendy water bottles and re-usable coffee cups, juice and tea diffusers, scotch sets and wine glasses, tea sets and ice cube trays…the list goes on and on.
To help you surmount this next wave of change in the world of beverages, we caught up with some retailers, product creators, distributors and retail experts who are all over some trends in this burgeoning sector.
Based in Australia, Top3 by design has a relatively large selection of products in the beverage sector, and Terri Winter has seen some great new trends emerge over the past year or two that have recently gained even more traction.
“We’ve seen a massive uptake of fruit infusion beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic,” she says. “The Porthole Infuser by American master chef Grant Achatz was originally designed for The Aviary cocktail lounge in Chicago in 2011. Interestingly though, only in this past year have we seen it really gain traction. People are increasingly using it for non-alcoholic infusions as well, rather than just cocktails.”
The massive global trend in reusable water bottles is also linked to fruit infusion. “We’re seeing people wishing to select water bottles that facilitate fruit infusions and that showcase them – they look pretty. The Eva Solo MyFlavour Carafe has also taken off and I expect it to have its strongest sales to date this Australian summer. Adding teas to the fruit is a new spin on traditional infusions and adds stronger flavors and colors too.”
Winter notes that the BYO cup/bottle has had a gigantic effect on people’s lives and on the planet. “People are actively avoiding the single use water bottle and they understand that drinking more water is important for health.”
Winter mentions one new beverage trend that she believes is a world-first. “Australian coffee guru Craig Hiron has launched a very new concept, which is an innovative pairing of filter coffee, blended with fruit juices and vanilla beans, developed by a team of technical and sensory experts,“ she says, predicting that the classy looking drink will be very popular.
Over in New Zealand, Liz Oldfield, Director of Milly’s has seen a decline on the personal blender (Nutribullet type models) in favor of big super blenders. “Slow juicing has also declined as people are aware of their need for fiber, and so are wanting to blend whole fruit and vegetables rather than simply extract juice,” she says. “There is also a growing interest in both craft cocktails and craft beer, and a general decline in soft drink-type beverages, presumably in response to the anti-sugar movement. There has been a definite rise in sales of specialist ice molds, things like large spheres and cubes.”
Oldfield also mentions that coffee and tea products are still healthily growing. “Artisan pieces for the home are growing in popularity – such as cold brew kits, specialist presses and plungers for healthy teas,” she says. “And metal and glass straw sales are soaring now that people are rejecting plastic straws.”
Saskia Thornton, Brand Founder and Business Lead for Mad Millie, an online wholesaler that sells healthy living kits to make things such as cheese, butter and beverages, says that people are much more selective when it comes to what people are drinking these days. “Our customers are looking for things such as low sugar, natural ingredients, botanicals and other interesting natural ingredients,” Thornton says. “We’re seeing more people opt for non- or low-alcoholic beverages, which has given rise to a vast range of fermented or ‘craft soda’ drink brands that provide consumers with alternatives to alcoholic products. Fermentation and ‘live’ products are also bigger than they ever. Fermented drinks like kefir, kombucha and Kvas are giving consumers interesting fermented beverages with the added benefit of having live cultures, which are great for gut health.”
Thornton notes that good old water (flavored, sparkling or plain) is a huge sector. “Our customers are wanting to know the provenance of their drinks – who the maker or the supplier is. The war on sugar continues and customers are looking at ways to sweeten or flavor drinks as minimally and as naturally as possible. We’ve also noticed that non-dairy, for example, coconut, and nut milks are very popular.”
There are similar sentiments in the USA. Specialty manufacturer of kitchen accessories and lifestyle goods, Eparé, was launched by Founder and Director Eugene Khayman in 2012. The business has a focus on entertaining, and making the preparation of any food or drink easier and more enjoyable.
“We’re noticing an up-tick in products related to craft cocktails as consumers are now bringing the craft of cocktail creation into their homes while entertaining guests. The simple creation of classic drinks, such as an old-fashioned punch, is becoming more widespread,” he says. “Previously, consumers limited their entertaining to offering beer, wine and soft drinks. Now, we’re noticing the addition of a signature drink when hosting a party. The host will either have the ingredients ready for specific craft cocktails or prepare premixed batches so that their guests can easily prepare and enjoy on their own.”
Eparé also has a Clear Ice System, meaning a customer can successfully create an adequate amount of clear ice cubes at home without consuming half the freezer. “Before our Clear Ice System, all of the options out there either did not work, were too expensive, yielded too few cubes, or consumed a large amount of space in the freezer,” explains Eugene. “It redefines ice-making at home.”
Pavel Staněk, co-founder of Potten & Pannen – Staněk, a KitchenAid Concept Store & Gourmet Academy in Prague, believes that many of the latest trends in the retail beverage sector today are linked to customers choosing a healthier lifestyle. “People are now seeking higher quality life standards, and part of this is surrounding themselves with quality kitchen tools and products,” he says. “That relates to beverages as well because everything that we put into our bodies matters. And so, we are proud to represent modern juicer brands, as green smoothies and fresh juices are more popular now than ever. And modern equipment ensures that important vitamins remain in the fresh juice.”
gia Expert Juror Anne Kong agrees that health is a pivotal marker in terms of beverage purchases right now. Anne says that one of the hottest trends on the market right now is Nutraceuticals – ingredients that are healthy and helpful. “Tonics, mixers or additives that guarantee a boost, more focus and stress relief are heavily trending,” she says. “There are some other trends swaying people’s retail decisions as well – such as low sugar content in products, cannabis as an ingredient, Indian cardamom and turmeric as ingredients, cocktails with low or no alcohol, and single servings of wines and flavored cocktails.” Again, most of these trends suggest a movement towards healthier beverage consumption.
Preparing for the 2019 International Home + Housewares Show, plan to attend the Trending Today Preview on Saturday, March 2, from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. in Room S100, South Building, Level 1, McCormick Place. Featuring up to 60 exhibitors with specialty beverage related products, the event is open exclusively to buyers and news media, and will run concurrently with the New Exhibitor Preview before the Show opens that morning.
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