Google released its first ever beverage trends report last week, drawing on its vast data collection and analysis resources to present a deep dive into the factors fueling non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S., United Kingdom, Mexico and Spain.
The 62-page report, released on August 24, was compiled by analyzing Google Search data, pulling top volume queries related to beverage and examining their monthly volume from April 2015 to March 2017. Google also looked at activity on YouTube, focusing on how beverages are talked about within top trend-related videos, as well as speaking with over 1,000 consumers about how some of the prevalent trends are affecting them.
The report identifies three key beverage trends, the first being the rising value of craft production processes, as exemplified by cold brew coffee, which was the top trending process-led beverage in the U.S. and UK when ranked by volume of searches. Google’s data revealed that consumers “see cold brewing as a process that enhances and elevates their beverage experience”. Of the top 100 cold brew videos across all markets, YouTube influencers most frequently used language like “smooth,” “bitterness,” “chocolatey” and “sweetness” to describe the beverage.
Consumers also showed strong interest in the DIY nature of making cold brew at home. In terms of RTD cold brew, data showed that searches for cold brew retail brands spike at around 2 p.m., but consumers are more likely to make their own cold brew at home around 8 p.m., showcasing consumers’ shifting preferences based on use occasion.
Earthy flavors were another notable trend based on the report. In the U.S. and UK, kombucha ranked at the top of trending earthy flavors based on volume of searches, while matcha tea and ginger tea were the most popular in Spain and Mexico, respectively. Matcha in particular enjoyed a breakout year in 2016: the volume of search queries for matcha drinks continue to grow at a rate of 64 percent year over year, while foods that utilize the tea as an ingredient are growing 62 percent year over year. Matcha’s combination of rich, distinct flavor and strong health benefits made it particularly appealing, according to the report.
Google also found that consumers are showing an increased interest in premium water, either in the liquid itself or in product packaging. The data indicated that consumers are seeking larger package formats — such as gallons, packs and jugs — as well as delivery services for water. In addition, many of the top trending water searches were related to enhanced waters, such as alkaline water and sparkling water, as well as those brands that use premium bottles.