Consumers are no longer settling for bitter coffee, boring tea and plain water. By analysing four of its key markets – the US, UK, Spain and Mexico – Think with Google has determined which drinks people are searching for in 2017. And the following three trends, the search giant says, are really “taking off”.
3. ‘Process is a priority’
Consumers don’t just care about what goes into their drink – they also care how it’s made. In the US and UK especially, people are searching for beverages according to how they’re crafted, with ‘cold brew coffee’ having emerged as a key search term.
It’s said that coffee tastes sweeter, and is less acidic, if it’s brewed using cold or room-temperature water. And, according to Google, consumers driven by taste, health and connoisseurship see cold brewing “as a process that enhances and elevates their beverage experience”.
Consumers are enamoured by cold brew’s DIY element, though many look for a shop-bought fix in the afternoon. Indeed, Google revealed that searches for cold brew brands peak at 2pm, while DIY-related searches peak in the evening.
2. Flavours are turning earthy
People’s tastes are changing. Turmeric, parsley and dandelion are among the botanical-based beverages to gain popularity, though it’s ginger that’s achieved the biggest growth rates in terms of search – up 30% year-on-year, in fact.
Before 2012, searches for ginger foods trumped ginger drinks, though that’s changed with increased global interest in ginger tea, ale and beer – and, more recently, ginger water, infusions and juices.
Meanwhile, matcha – mainly consumed as a full-bodied green tea – achieved its breakout year in 2016. Prior to then, Google says, interest “was almost non-existent”. Now, however, searches for matcha drinks are increasing by 64% year-on-year.
1. Water is being premiumised
Consumers are bored of plain water. Now, they’re searching for alkaline water – which has a higher pH level than tap water – and sparkling water, which has steadily been gaining traction since 2012.
Interestingly, searches for sparkling water spiked during weekends, which suggests it’s seen as something of a leisure-time indulgence rather than an everyday thirst-quencher.
Water is being accessorised, too. The US, for example, has seen the emergence of premium stainless steel water bottle brands, with many Americans using their bottles as a reminder to drink more regularly.
Laura Swain, Stylus’ assistant editor of food, beverage and hospitality, said that consumers are “becoming much more aware” of how their beverages are made.
“This desire for quality, craftsman-made drinks is falling into the non-alcoholic beverage category as more people are choosing to abstain from alcohol, often for health reasons, but still want to feel like their drink is special.
“The earthy, more grown-up flavours that we see emerging could also be partially attributed to this step-change; people are steering away from sweet, sugary soft drinks that have a natural, healthier feel.”