At a time when many are reflecting on and celebrating the past year, lets take a moment and see what might become your cup of choice in 2014. Two beverages seem to be generating the most buzz are tea and house-made sodas.
Is it possible for the second-most consumed beverage in the world after water to grow in popularity? Yes according to restaurant consultants Baum+Whiteman who include tea among their Hottest Food Trends of 2014. Featuring the ability to be infused with nearly everything and served both iced and hot, tea is being pegged as a beverage of choice with meals. People are more likely to buy food with tea than coffee, Baum + Whiteman said.
NPD, one of the industrys top data firms, uses hard numbers to concur with Baum + Whiteman, predicting across the board increases in general tea consumption in 2014, highlighted by a 4-percent increase in off-premise food service consumption.
Traditional carbonated soda consumption may not be as strong as past years, but soda is still on the radar of consumers, now in the form of house-made sodas. The National Restaurant Association listed house-made soda as it top in beverage for 2013 and it looks to be continuing its ascent in popularity in 2014.
Taking its cue from the craft beer movement, Baum+Whiteman note craft sodas using house-made fruit syrups and infusions with the mantra of local, natural and fresh will continue to gain a foothold in the industry with consumers looking for healthy beverages that please the palate.
The foodservice industry is already taking note of the craft soda movement as well. One multinational coffee house chain has begun testing soda machines in select stores, using them to carbonate teas, sodas, lemonade and even coffee.
As we reflect on 2013, have your cup handy, there is going to be a variety of beverages to chose in 2014.
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