It starts in November and for all we know it’s still going on – the annual “Airing of the Predictions.” We thought we’d share some of the best ones we’ve gotten – and some of the best ones we’ve solicited from our own team. Ready? There’s probably enough to get you through 2014 – and on to 2024.
Jack Brennan, GBS Growth Partners
After a few slow years in the beverage industry, M&A Activity and Innovation will start to pick up again in 2014. Several brands/companies have had to go it on their own (and they’re better off for it) and have been successful hurdling critical growth milestones last couple of years. Consumer Confidence is improving and a bit more predictable. Re. Innovations…look for new brands utilizing new sweeteners; effective anti – aging beverages. All good news for Bevnet and GBS as there will be an increase in new product launches.
Greg Steltenpohl, Califia Farms
There’s not much to predict except the continued ‘Balkanization/Craftification’ of the field. Capital is coming in faster now, so will drive the innovation even faster, but that also mean less patience for concepts that don’t take off.
Also, certain key products that were ‘innovative commodity concepts’ are now becoming base ingredients at a faster clip (like Tangerine Juice and Almond Milk for us) but also Coconut Water, Cold Brewed Teas, Cold Brewed Coffee, etc.
Jim Tonkin, Healthy Brand Builders
“Distribution (DSD) will continue to tighten and make it more difficult for small/medium brands to develop meaningful penetration at retail, forcing a more Direct-to-Store pathway, also stretching the capabilities of the retailer internal fulfillment options”
From the Flavor Houses
Fermenich has declared it the year of the BLACKBERRY, calling it the “flavor of the year” for its mix of antioxidants and nutrients and a flavor profile that includes jamminess, ripeness, sweetness, acidity, juiciness, spice and seediness.
• Balsamic Fig – A harmonious blend of full-flavored figs and aged dark balsamic vinegar. Neither too sweet nor too tart, it is a mellow combination that elevates the sensory experience when added to a variety of other flavors and works well in myriad formats.(Key micro-tend: Taste Plus*)
• Burnt Calamansi – A hybrid of a kumquat and mandarin orange, Burnt Calamansi is the next generation of citrus flavors. A unique citrus profile similar to a sour orange or a slightly sweeter lime with caramelized notes, with a fragrance to match. (Key micro-tend: Sophistication)
• Fernet – An aromatic spirit or bitter containing myrrh, chamomile, cardamom, aloe and saffron. A difestif popular in Italy, Fernet is flavored with lengthy, and often secret, lists of spices, roots and herbs. (Key micro-tend: Regional)
• Ginger Plum – A juicy, sweet and tart plum with a touch of spice from ginger that delivers multiple sensory experiences. (Key micro-tend: Taste Plus)
• Gochujang – Described as “the new Siracha sauce,” Gochujang is a savory and pungent fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, rice, fermented soybeans and salt. (Key micro-tend: Bragging Rights)
• Green Coconut – Green (young) coconut gained its initial recognition in the U.S. from the rise of popularity of coconut water, which stemmed from the claim of its superiority over traditional sports drinks. (Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
• Guasaca – A Venezuelan avocado sauce, many have likened it to guacamole, but with a refreshing difference in flavor profile due to the addition of bright, fresh parsley notes.
(Key micro-tend: Regional)
• Juniper Berries – Consumers long for the decadence of an expertly mixed cocktail in its proper type of glass. Gin, primarily flavored with Juniper berries, invokes a feeling of that elegant past era. (Key micro-tend: Nostalgic)
• Rhubarb – With antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, rhubarb helps boost the immune system and fight off disease. (Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
• Ros el Hanout – Its name in Arabic means “top of the shop,” or the best spices the merchant had to offer. Typically including cardamom, clove, cinnamon, chili peppers, coriander, cumin, peppercorn, paprika, fenugreek and turmeric, Ros el Hanout brings the flavors and culture of Morocco to consumers’ doorsteps. (Key micro-tend: Regional)
• Tayberry – A cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry, tayberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and are a welcome addition for the health-conscious consumer. (Key micro-tend: Lifestyle Management)
• Willamette Hop – Used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent, hops impart a bitter, tangy flavor in beer, and increasingly, in confections and other unexpected food products. (Key micro-tend: Bragging Rights)
From the Dietitians
These folks who fight weight gain weighed in with 14 trends, but the keys for the beverage business are the following:
• Ancient Grains
• Kale, coconut, and chia seeds
• “Health” as a top priority
• Celebrity Influence – can’t beat the TV doctors
• Healthy by Comparison – consumers look to friends and family
• Reliance on nutrition and health bloggers
• More Fruits and Vegetables
Meanwhile, Hanna Lee Communications came up with a cocktails and spirits forecast – our prediction is that it annoyed the dietitians a lot – by hiring spirits expert Noah Rothbaum. Here’s what he offered:
• Locavore Tippling
• Vodka, influenced by the Sochi Olympics
• Cachaca, influenced by the World Cup in Brazil
• Festivals devoted to cocktails
• High-Tech elements like liquid nitrogen or lasers in professional bartending
• Bourbon and Rye
• More “To-Go” or RTD Cocktails
• A larger push for flavored spirits
• Whiskeys that are “Scotch-Like” but don’t come from Scotland
• Vintage Spirits that are bought at auction or from collectors
• Simpler, classic cocktails rather than multi-ingredient craziness
• Overproof spirits
• Sipping Rum and Tequila
• Price Hikes for cocktails and liquor, but some bargains at the clear spirits end
Finally, on the packaging front, Evergreen Packaging has come up with some key insight for attracting “Eco-Aware Moms” – a growing constituency.
For this important group – which represents nearly $2 trillion in purchasing power, according to Evergreen, these are the keys:
• They will switch brands based on packaging alone
• Packaging influences Brand Reputations for eco-friendliness
• They see a strong correlation between personal and environmental health
• They like to see eco-aware messages on the package.