The Top 5 Summer Beverage Trends 2023 - NIQ

Sip into Summer: Unveiling the Top 5 Summer Beverage Trends


Sip into Summer: Unveiling the Top 5 Summer Beverage Trends

Summertime is a time for gatherings, celebrations, and spending time outdoors. All of these are generally great for non-alcoholic beverage sales. But, with consumers facing inflationary pressures, which summer beverage trends can we expect?

We took a closer look at the marketplace, consumer behavior, and rising products to help you get a clearer view. With so many factors affecting demand, this summer looks to be a little different than most.

Keep reading to learn more about the biggest trends we’re seeing in the non-alcohol beverage market and what they could mean to your brand.

Summer is usually the perfect time to leverage the power of seasonal events with graduation parties, picnics, holiday celebrations, and more. But, there are other trends that you should also consider to better align with consumers.

Here are 6 of the biggest summer beverage trends to keep an eye on:

1. Rise of Mocktails

Non-alcoholic beverages have been on the rise in the U.S. for years. Between August 2021 and August 2022, total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the US stood at $395 million, showing a year-on-year growth of +20.6%.* The COVID-19 pandemic and a general cultural shift have caused more Americans to focus on their health, so many are pursuing alternatives to alcohol. In response, sales of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink mocktails are on the rise.

But, this shift isn’t just benefiting brands that sell ready-to-drink mocktails. Many consumers are seeking out new and innovative mocktail recipes that they can make at home. That means brands that sell juice, tonics, and other mixers are also benefitting. Cocktail mixer sales are up 8.6% over last year, while seltzers and tonics are up 17.7%.* Knowing what new drink recipes are trending and leveraging this new focus on non-alcoholic mixed drinks, can pay dividends.

Source: Total US xAOC + Liquor Plus Conv Latest 52 Wks w/e 07/16/2022; Source: NIQ Total US xAOC, last 52 Wks ending 4/29/23

2. Refreshing Fruit Infusions

Infusing water, tea, or mocktails with fresh fruits is a popular trend that is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. First, it’s a healthy way to add flavor to drinks without adding sugar or calories. Second, it’s a great way to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. Third, it’s a fun and creative way to experiment with different flavors. So, what does this mean for CPG brands?

Fresh fruit companies are increasing their sales through new channels and aligning with this burgeoning trend. This is good news for trending fruit, which as a whole is up 4.3% over last year. Popular fruits that fall in this category are watermelon, up 11%, and blueberries, up 7.9%.* But, beyond the fresh aisles, it’s also beneficial for water, tea, and RTD sales. Trending recipes can help boost the sales of all ingredients used. So it can be very helpful to stay on top of the latest consumer trends.

* Source: NIQ Total US xAOC, last 52 Wks ending 4/29/23

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3. Cold Brew Craze

Cold brew coffee is another beverage that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It’s made by steeping coarsely ground coffee beans in cold water for 12-24 hours. This results in a coffee that is less acidic and has a smoother flavor than traditional hot-brewed coffee. Though many brands are now selling pre-made cold brews so consumers don’t have to wait for their favorite drink.

One of the biggest drivers of the trend is that cold brew coffee is often seen as a healthier alternative. It’s lower in acidity and contains less caffeine than traditional coffee. It’s also relatively easy to make at home. This might be a major driver behind the growth of ready-to-drink and premade coffee, which is up 12.1% over last year. This is opening new doors for coffee brands and providing the opportunity to expand their assortments.

Source: NIQ Total US xAOC, last 52 Wks ending 4/29/23

4. Health-Conscious Hydration

Functional and healthy drinks have emerged in recent years as many consumers’ go-to beverages. This is due to a number of factors, including a renewed focus on health, the growing popularity of natural and organic products, and simple convenience. Most importantly, people are more aware than ever of the importance of eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Unsurprisingly, sports drinks are up 8.3% over last year, and this looks to continue as more Americans focus on living healthier lifestyles.

But sports drinks aren’t the only ones benefitting from this shift. Consumers are avoiding beverages that are loaded with artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. Instead, they’re increasingly looking for products that are made with natural ingredients and are free of preservatives. That means drinks such as infused waters, kombucha, and herbal teas are all on the rise. In fact, kombucha is up 2.8%, while tea saw an 8.1% gain. Brands that align closely with the health and wellness consumer are in a good position for long-term growth.

Source: NIQ Total US xAOC, last 52 Wks ending 4/29/23

5. Sustainable Sips

Going hand-in-hand with a focus on wellness is consumers’ growing desire for sustainable products. In fact, 92% of consumers say that sustainability is important when choosing a brand today. In the grocery store, products with claims like “organic” are more popular than ever. While new and emerging claims around regenerative agriculture, carbon footprint, water footprint, and responsibly sourced are emerging and growing rapidly.

There are many sustainable beverage options making gains from this claim, including plant-based milk alternatives and beverages that use biodegradable packaging. Luckily, this trend has a low barrier to entry since most brands are already engaging in or adopting sustainable practices. Make sure to leverage sustainability attributes on your packaging or in the product descriptions to highlight your sustainability efforts and meet shifting consumer demands.

Just because a trend is growing in popularity doesn’t mean your brand’s sales will too. You need to know how to act on these trends to meet evolving shopper needs. Take a closer look at your product offerings and how they align with the trends before making any decisions. Sometimes it’s as simple as a new marketing campaign or packaging change to highlight an attribute. Other times you’ll want to lean into a new product innovation or market. Data will be your best friend for making intelligent moves for long-term gains.

For summer, leveraging wellness and sustainability trends seems to be one of the most valuable opportunities. Health continues to be increasingly important to all consumers. For those consumers who are more proactive with their health, the top reasons are to live a longer, healthier life, avoid preventable diseases, and protect against ailments. Speaking directly about how your products relate to these needs can be a major boon for your future growth.

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