#Trendspotting: The COVID-19 Effect

 In Blog, Trendspotting

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


During these uncertain times, there is one thing that is clear — we'll be adjusting to a "new normal" for a while. Food and beverage trends are quickly shifting to focus on the needs of consumers, which include prioritizing health above all else, finding ways to relax and escape while spending the majority of time at home, and cost-consciousness. Even after stay-at-home orders are lifted and the economy reopens, there will likely be residual insecurity about the safety of public places and financial stability. Therefore, these trends will have staying power for the foreseeable future.

Essential Functions | Demand for DIY | A Taste for Nostalgia | Bring the Bar Home |

Essential Functions

Consumers have a heightened focus on staying healthy right now, so expect a proliferation of functional beverages suggested to boost immunity. Additionally, lifestyle changes and uncertainty about the future is causing consumers to be considerably more stressed, which creates a larger market for mood-boosting beverages.


Ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric and ginger have grown in popularity over the last few years. Interest in these ingredients, and ones with similar benefits, will become even greater in the coming year. According to Google Trends, searches for turmeric and ginger are up nearly 50% from 3 months ago.


A healthy microbiome is important for immunity and overall well-being, so it’s not surprising that brands who make probiotic-rich products, such as Lifeway and Farmhouse Culture, are reporting surges in sales since the pandemic hit the U.S. Demand for products that incorporate other gut-friendly ingredients like prebiotics and apple cider vinegar are also expected to grow.


Calming ingredients like lavender, chamomile, green tea (due to its l-theanine content), cacao, and CBD will become more common. Novel ingredients like adaptogens and medicinal mushrooms, which potentially have mood boosting and immunity benefits, may also become more popular, though they tend to be more expensive which could limit their entrance into the mainstream.


Many consumers have reported trouble sleeping or getting restful sleep due anxiety and stress created by the pandemic. Beverages and wellness shots with natural sleep-inducing ingredients like valerian root, lemon balm, passion flower and magnesium will garner consumer interest.

Demand for DIY

With a significant percentage of the population under stay-at-home orders and surmounting fears about crowds at grocery stores, there’s been increased interest in DIY kits that provide all the necessary tools to create products and experiences without leaving the house. Between March 15 and April 11, Google searches for “DIY Kit” increased 92%.

There’s been a resurgence in the use of meal kits since consumers are cooking more at home. Meal kit brands like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron are seeing a major increase in sales. Shake Shack and many local restaurants have also started offering meal kits to make use of their inventories and create an enjoyable consumer experience.


Cocktail kits are also being widely promoted to entice consumers who miss sipping on premium drinks at bars and restaurants. Brands like Shaker and Spoon offer all the ingredients you need, except the alcohol, to create a cocktail. Restaurants like Summer House Santa Monica are also offering cocktail kits with the alcohol for delivery or pickup.


Local companies around the country are offering DIY kits for products and services that are currently unavailable to consumers such as face masks, hair coloring, and salon-style manicures. Madison Reed reported a 750% increase in sales of their premium hair coloring kits since stay-at-home orders went into effect.


Established brands and local companies are also promoting DIY kits that combat boredom. Products range from food and beverage kits like make-your-own kombucha or bagels to crafts like embroidery or building a clock.

A Taste for Nostalgia

During times of stress and panic consumers tend to seek out the familiar which is why nostalgic products and flavors that evoke pleasant memories will be popular. Given that many of our lives have been turned upside down, nostalgia may relate to something even more recent, such as choosing products that remind you of going to the beach as the weather warms up or time spent with friends in recent months.


Lemonade and watermelon are summertime favorites that will be used in many new launches and LTOs over the next few months. La Croix and White Claw recently added watermelon and lemon SKUs to their product lines and many other brands are expected to follow.


Although CSD sales have been declining for some time, consumers flocked to the soda aisle to stock up on their favorites amid stay-at-home orders. Revive’s latest launch tapped into consumers love for soda with three new flavors — original cola, orange and root beer.


Sweet treats from the snack aisle are inspiring product innovation in categories like cereal and coffee. Hostess is launching a line of RTD iced lattes this month that includes flavors like Twinkie, HoneyBun, Snoballs and Ding Dongs.


Milkshakes are a summertime staple, but consumers may miss out on spending time at their local ice cream shoppe this year. This gives dairy and dairy alternative brands the opportunity to provide a similar experience at home by creating products with indulgent flavors, such as Prairie Farms dark chocolate truffle and sea salt caramel flavored milks.

Bring the Bar Home

Before coronavirus, there was an upward trend of consumers drinking fewer alcoholic beverages. Since the pandemic, alcohol sales have surged because many consumers are drinking alcohol to de-stress and create an escape from their daily routine. According to Newsweek, alcohol sales were up 55% during the third week of March when stay-at-home orders went into effect in many states .


It may not come as a surprise that more healthful alcohol options and enhanced libations are entering the market. Brands are enhancing products with functional ingredients like anxtioxidant-rich superfruits, electrolytes, and probiotics.


There are a growing number of brands offering RTD premium cocktails. Brands have the opportunity to offer a convenient way to enjoy an experience similar to the one created at the bar by leveraging this format.


Brands can also bring the bar experience home by offering premium cocktail mixers and bitters. These range from fan favorites like margarita and cosmopolitan to more niche offerings like Hella Cocktail’s bitters and soda.


Consumers who are still cutting back on alcohol may be more open to trying premium zero-proof beverages like Kin EuphoricsSeedlip, and Shrub-bucha at home.

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