Brewing to perfection

09/11/2017 - 12:26
The hot beverages sector remains resilient and offering cost sector operators the opportunity to drive sales through imaginative drinks menus. Sheila Eggleston reports on the trends.

Britons’ thirst for daily cuppas out-of-home continues to fuel the hot beverage sector, with coffee holding the lion’s share of the market and tea hot on its heels.

Speciality coffee in particular accounts for a weekly spend of £54 million according to Beacon Purchasing, and new ideas are coming through to increase its popularity. The preference for a ‘special brew’ is also growing in the tea and chocolate categories.

Tetley claims coffee occasions out-of-home have stagnated, dropping by 10% versus last year, thus presenting an opportunity for caterers to assess their offering and attract new tea advocates.

“Tea is often chosen for its health and thirst-quenching benefits, and the common myth that caffeinated beverages dehydrate the body is being overturned,” says senior brand manager – out-of-home Marshall Kingston. “Instead, a cuppa in the morning can effectively help hydrate the body and play a role in improving health and wellbeing.

“New sectors within the fruit and herbal infusion category are growing at 2.8%. Tetley’s envelope range includes blends with natural fruity flavours such as green tea with mango. With berry and lemon flavours the most popular fruit flavours currently, the envelope range features raspberry and pomegranate, and lemon and ginger.”

Andrea Stopher, shopper marketing manager at Twinings, says more people are spending money on experiences, and this is a chance to improve tea service and offer them new blends.

“Consumers seek a different experience out-of-home to that of their in-home brew and are willing to pay more for it,” explains Stopher. “With 24% of consumers intending to increase their tea consumption as a result of their focus on health and wellbeing, the opportunity to drive sales of fruit and herbal infusions and green tea continues.

“Millennials in particular are on the lookout for novel experiences, and something to ‘eat and tweet’ about, so the drinks have to taste great and have to be healthy and worthy of an Instagram post,” she adds.

Further support for tea comes from Tudor Tea & Coffee, which is enhancing the serve by introducing one- and two-cup loose tea infusers for operators. Managing director Nick Klos says that outlets tend to take more care with coffee than tea, but infusers brew the tea in front of the customer, which together with Tudor’s extensive portfolio of tea blends heightens the drinking experience.

Tom Noonan, senior brand manager for DaVinci Gourmet, says operators that tap into the latest flavour trends will thrive. “For instance, many consumers want to enjoy coffee without its natural bitterness, especially young people, and as a result look for sweeter tastes,” comments Noonan. “Introducing flavour combinations to speciality beverages is essential to keep up with the trends.”

Noonan says matcha, acai and hibiscus are on the rise and, moving into autumn, Earl Grey and elderflower is the perfect pick-me-up. Recently, the company launched five syrups made with real botanical extracts and free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives to add variety to drinks menus.

Analyst Mintel’s latest report on tea and hot drinks in the UK highlights young Brits as the most likely to have an adventurous taste for tea and also want it to satisfy their sweet tooth, with 56% of those aged 25-34 saying that flavoured tea is a good alternative to sugary drinks.

Twinings teamed up with syrup specialist Monin to introduce recipes for tea lattes, which satisfies this trend but are healthy-consciously, as all contain less than 80 calories. For example, London Fog uses a classic Earl Grey tea base paired with vanilla syrup over steamed milk for an aromatic creamy drink.

Twinings’ Stopher says seasonal drinks can command a price premium of up to 20% more than all-year-round counterparts, making tea lattes a great addition for winter menus.

Kimbo has partnered with premium syrup brand 1883 to create recipes with a twist on classic coffee for its winter menu. “These are popular with our clients who are looking to expand their offering with minimal cost and maximum return,” says UK commercial director Damon Wilson.

“One-litre bottles of syrup will cost around £12 each and produce 125 servings of 8ml. At 50p per shot, that’s a £50 profit on the syrup alone. To this you can add the mark up on marshmallows, whipped cream or other ingredients. A well presented drink costing £1-£2 more than standard coffee is an attractive offer. But special ingredients can’t come at the cost of quality coffee served expertly.”

Lavazza sales and marketing director Barry Kither says that current coffee trends include sustainability and provenance, plus interesting brewing methods such as nitro brewing, although he believes the latter will not be sustainable as it’s expensive. “Cold brew is popular while good filter coffee is also growing,” comments Kither. “It’s easy to get filter coffee right as all you need is really good small equipment.”

He advises operators to keep things fresh with new coffee and accompaniments, and to grab ideas from London’s hot spots. Within its own portfolio it has recently added an organic variant to its ¡Tierra! Origins range.

Latest products include Nestlé Professional’s first Nescafé whole bean-to-cup offering for the out-of-home market. The company says the coffee is compatible with its state-of-the-art combi solutions Nescafé Alegria and Nescafé Milano, which offer the richness and aroma of a bean-to-cup espresso, Americano and lungo.

The company says the launch enables operators to provide premium branded speciality coffee with ease from a new-generation automatic machine, meaning no barista, no expensive training and minimal cleaning.

Winter warmers also include hot chocolate, which has been revitalised by leading brands such as Ferrero Foodservice’s launch of Thorntons luxury chocolate flakes in 7kg tubs that deliver 200 servings of hot chocolate when made using 35g of flakes with 350ml of steamed milk. Ferrero says the family recipe, made available for the first time, allow caterers to meet demand for high-quality hot chocolate.

According to new data from Toluna/Ferrero Foodservice, 81% of consumers are more likely to order hot chocolate made from flakes versus standard powders. In addition, 84% of people would pay an additional 50p or more, and well over a third up to £2.

“As the hot drinks market has evolved, expectations have grown with it; consumers now want something different and better than what they have at home,” comments head of foodservice Fiona Morgan. “The launch of Thorntons luxury chocolate flakes means caterers can offer hot chocolate as good as their coffee house blends, and best of all consumers will pay for it.”

According to Samantha Winsor, assistant brand manager at Lantmännen Unibake UK, a third of out-of-home hot drink purchases are associated with catching up with friends, and pastries offer an opportunity to piggyback on this trend as 80% of pastry consumption is social and 50% of sweet bakes are eaten with hot drinks.

“Cross-promoting them with hot drinks will tempt consumers to buy into trendy pairings,” adds Winsor. “Effective point-of-sale material and messaging can help communicate this to customers.”

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