#Trendspotting: Beverage Innovation

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Your source for the most up-to-date information on emerging beverage trends.

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Expo West is the hottest show in town for discovering new products, analyzing trends, and finding out about new innovations. The event may be postponed, but we've identified many notable products and innovations entering the market, many of which would have been revealed at Expo West.

Plant-Based | Coffee & Tea | Functional Finds | Nitro Innovation | Favorite Flavors

Plant-Based

Naked Juice launched a line of fruit smoothies enhanced with 18g of soy and pea protein. It’s the first fruit-forward, plant-based protein smoothie launched by a major player. Flavors include peach mango and blueberry banana.

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Protein2O will be launching the first plant-based protein water, an innovation that has been a challenge for product developers because of solubility and opacity issues. Each can contains 15g of a proprietary pea protein isolate. The line includes flavors novel in the sports nutrition category like blackberry basil, key lime coconut, and lemongrass chamomile.

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Elmhurst 1925 is introducing nutrient-rich smoothie bases that combine fruits, vegetables, or botanicals with dairy alternative milks. SKUs include kale and turmeric ginger with oat and hemp milks and cacao with hazelnut and almond milks. Each SKU contains 10g of plant protein and can be combined with juice and/or ice.

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Mamma Chia launched Chiamilk made with the nutrient-rich seed. Benefits of chia include that it is a rich source of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins B1 and B3 as well as a good source of vitamins B2 and B9. Additionally, about 75% of the fats in chia seeds consist of the ALA omega-3.

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Coffee & Tea
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La Colombe’s latest innovations are packaged in a self-heating can that heats the beverage up to 130 degrees in two minutes. The can has a cap that twists and creates a chemical reaction called rapid oxidation. SKUs include a single origin coffee with and without milk and sugar.

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Elmhurst 1925 is expanding its plant-based portfolio with a line of coffee, tea and botanical oat milk lattes. SKUs include matcha, cacao, golden milk, and flash brew coffee. Flash brew is an emerging trend, and proponents of the brew method claim it results in a bright, crisp and full-flavored product.

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Consumers are thirsty for unique sensory experiences which has contributed to the success of bubble tea in foodservice. Ino Tea is one of the first brands to create that sensory experience in an RTD beverage.

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Sparkling tea continues to gain traction because consumers are embracing carbonated beverages with less sugar and more natural ingredients than traditional CSDs. Several brands have introduced bubbly teas, including Tama TeaRishi Tea & Botanicals, and Sound Sparkling.

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Several teas with novel herbal ingredients have launched over the last few years. Novel tea varieties include Special Tea’s RTD olive leaf teas, IGZU’s RTD Bamboo Leaf Tea, and Avocado Tea Co.’s avocado leaf tea satchets.

Functional Finds

Adaptogenic beverages that are suggested to aid with stress relief, energy, and cognitive function continue to proliferate. Bala Veda launched smoothies enhanced wtih 13 adaptogenic roots, fruits and leaves. Other adaptogenic beverage launches include Dewdrop adaptogen and superfood sparkling beverages and Vive Organic energy and focus wellness shots.

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Collagen is being used in beverages ranging from water to coffee. Premium mineral water brand Flow Alkaline Spring Water is adding extra functionality to their product by launching a line enhanced with 10g of grass-fed collagen. Other recent collagen launches include Alo Jen collagen and aloe vera-infused waters and Reneva Collagen Protein Drinks.

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Some of the latest innovations with kombucha include RTD hard kombucha, RTD kombucha served in a can, and zero-sugar kombuchas (which is especially interesting because sugar plays an important role in the fermentation process). Humm Kombucha launched a line extension that uses allulose and monk fruit instead of sugar.

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Tea is becoming a popular ingredient in clean energy drinks. Tea Riot debuted an energy drink made with green tea and tulsi. Other innovators in this space include CLEAN CauseMatchaBar Hustle Energy Drink, and Marquis Organic Energy.

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Nitro Innovation
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Several brands have introduced nitrogen-infused lattes with oat milk, including CalifiaLa Colombe, and Rise Nitro Brewing Co. Rise is also adding a tea latte to their lineup with the London Fog Earl Grey Oat Milk Latte.

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Upriver Cacao launched nitrogen-infused coffee alternatives made with cold brewed cacao. The brand claims that the theobromine content naturally occurring in cacao provides gentle energy among other health benefits. SKUs include dark chocolate and sea salt, strawberry hibiscus, vanilla cream, matcha mama, and chocolate chai.

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La Colombe will also be launching a nitrogen-infused chocolate beverage this month. The frothy, creamy draft chocolate milk is made with lactose-free milk and cocoa. It is also low in sugar and rich in calcium and vitamin D.

Favorite Flavors
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Many brands are gearing up for summer by launching watermelon flavored beverages. Brands like Brew Dr.Harmless HarvestLoveauRowdy MermaidLa CroixWhite Claw, and Matcha Bar Hustle are launching watermelon flavored SKUs.

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Citrus flavors with a twist are also expected to be a summer favorite. LaCroix launched a LimonCello SKU that has a bright and slightly sweet lemon flavor. Other products that incorporate citrus flavors with a twist include Loveau’s yuzu, lemon and lime sparkling water, Positive Beverage prickly pear lemonade, and Vita Coco Infused cardamom lemon sparkling coconut water with hemp extract.

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Blood orange is another popular citrus flavor that appeals to consumers because it’s more exotic than comparable flavors like orange or grapefruit. H Factor WaterHumm Kombucha ZeroJen Collagen + Aloe Vera Infused Water, and Flow Alkaline Water + Collagen are few of the brands who introduced blood orange SKUs within the last year.

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Rose is an emerging botanical flavor that has been used in several new products over the last year. Products that incorporate rose flavor include Harmless Harvest’s new line of lightly flavored coconut waters, Waku Plant-Based Tonic,  Atay Iced Tea, and Smartwater Sparkling.

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You may be surprised to find out that pickle is an up-and-coming flavor. Brands like Big Swig Sparkling Water and Holla Spirits have pickle flavored products. Other brands like Grillo Fresh and Pickle Juice Sport utilize pickle juice in their beverages because it’s inherently rich in electrolytes.

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