Acceleration of beverage trends following COVID-19

 In Press

For beverage companies, 2020 has been a year of learning how to adapt to a “new normal.” Before COVID-19, there was an upward trend of consumers drinking fewer alcoholic beverages. Since the pandemic, alcohol sales have surged, leading beverage trends to quickly shift focus to the needs of the consumers, which include prioritizing health above all else while finding ways to relax, save money and escape while spending more time at home. With the COVID-19 pandemic turning lives upside down, there is a silver lining to be found in the acceleration of beverage trends that have already been set into place.

 A taste of nostalgia

As we have seen over the past few months, during times of stress and panic, consumers tend to purchase products with flavors that evoke pleasant memories.

Summer is often known as the season for nostalgic eating. Many think of eating hot dogs in the park, sitting and enjoying ice cream on the curb, and snacking on popcorn and candy at the local drive-in movie theater.

It makes intuitive sense that positive experiences with a given food could influence our craving for it later on. Research suggests comfort foods remind us of our social ties, meaning they may help us feel less lonesome when we feel socially isolated. In a 2015 study, Jordan Troisi, an assistant professor of psychology at Sewanee, the University of the South, and his colleagues found people preferred the taste of comfort food when they experienced feelings of social isolation. (Appetite. 2015 Jul;90:58-64)

In her May 1, 2020 trendspotting blog, Imbibe’s Holly McHugh wrote: “Lemonade and watermelon are summertime favorites that will be used in many new launches and LTOs (Limited Time Offers) over the next few months. LaCroix and White Claw recently added watermelon and lemon SKUs to their product lines and many other brands are expected to follow.”

Read the full article in Food and Beverage Insider.