A growing thirst for specialty drinks

Published in FSD Update

By 
Dana Moran, Managing Editor

coffee latte art mugs

When it comes to food, customers have wanted it their way for years. But that trend is spilling over into noncommercial beverage categories, according to FoodService Director’s January Menu Trends Survey. One-third of operators surveyed said they expected the most growth in enhanced bottled water sales (like flavored and vitamin-infused drinks) during the next two years, while one-quarter anticipated a big spike in specialty coffee sales.

College operators were most optimistic about these trends—50 percent and 46 percent foresaw growth in specialty water and coffee, respectively. Interestingly, these operators also foresaw more growth in tea (26 percent) than did operators overall (15 percent), while vegetable juice was big in B&I (24 percent growth vs. 10 percent growth overall) and regular coffee was hot at senior living (30 percent growth vs. 14 percent growth overall).

When it came to lunch, operators anticipated growth on the healthier side of the menu—or at least, menu items perceived as healthier. Salads/salad bars, sandwiches and vegetable-based entrees were top of mind, with more than 60 percent of B&I operators expecting salads to skyrocket. Breakfast-for-lunch may be an emerging trend among college diners, with 22 percent of operators expecting growth.

Salad also is looking large at dinner, ranking as the top choice for growth. Hospital operators especially were optimistic here; 40 percent foresaw growth. At colleges, more operators expected growth among fish dishes (38 percent) than they did pizza (11 percent) or burgers (10 percent), which again may indicate students are thinking about their waistlines.

In which three of the following beverage categories do you expect the most growth in the next 1-2 years?

  Total B&I C&U Schools Hospitals NH/LTC/Sr. Living
Enhanced bottled water 33.1% 47.6% 50.0% 29,9% 39.0% 11.5%
Coffee (specialty) 24.5% 19.0% 45.7% 6.5% 33.8% 15.4%
Smoothies 23.5% 19.0% 41.4% 23.4% 13.0% 19.2%
Fruit juice 22.0% 4.8% 14.3% 35.1% 15.6% 26.9%
Plain bottled water 18.9% 28.6% 12.9% 32.5% 18.2% 9.0%
Tea 15.2% 19.0% 25.7% 5.2% 13.0% 16.7%
Coffee (regular) 14.2% 19.0% 12.9% 1.3% 11.7% 29.5%
Energy drinks 12.4% 9.5% 27.1% 5.2% 14.3% 5.1%
Milk 11.5% 0.0% 5.7% 22.1% 3.9% 16.7%
Vegetable juice 9.9% 23.8% 10.0% 13.0% 6.5% 6.4%
Sports drinks 9.6% 4.8% 12.9% 11.7% 14.3% 1.3%
Carbonated soft drinks 5.3% 0.0% 1.4% 5.2% 11.7% 3.8%
Do not expect growth in any beverage category 25.4% 28.6% 8.6% 20.8% 31.2% 38.5%

In the next 2 years, do you expect your lunch daypart (participation/transactions) to increase, decrease, or remain the same?

  Total B&I C&U Schools Hospitals NH/LTC/Sr. Living
Increase 44.2% 80.0% 52.1% 43.8% 55.8% 16.7%
Decrease 2.1% 10.0% 0.0% 3.8% 0.0% 2.6%
Remain the same 53.7% 10.0% 47.9% 52.5% 44.2% 80.8%

In which three of the following center of the plate/main entree lunch categories do you expect the most growth in the next 1-2 years?

  Total B&I C&U Schools Hospitals NH/LTC/Sr. Living
Salads/salad bar 42.3% 60.0% 50.7% 36.7% 55.3% 21.9%
Cold/hot sandwiches/subs
(made to order/prepackaged)
33.1% 40.0% 37.7% 26.6% 42.1% 24.7%
Vegetable/bean-based hot entrees
(e.g. burritos, stir-fry)
28.7% 30.0% 50.7% 25.3% 23.7% 16.4%
Chicken-based hot entrees
(e.g. fried chicken, wings, grilled chicken, tacos)
24.9% 35.0% 20.3% 31.6% 23.7% 20.5%
Fish-based entrees
(e.g. friend, baked, grilled, sushi)
18.0% 30.0% 21.7% 7.6% 25.0% 15.1%
Burgers
(e.g. hamburgers/turkey burgers/veggie burgers)
17.0% 30.0% 15.9% 15.2% 17.1% 16.4%
Soup/chili 15.1% 15.0% 5.8% 7.6% 21.1% 26.0%
Pizza/calzones 15.1% 5.0% 11.6% 30.4% 10.5% 9.6%
Breakfast entrees served at lunch
(e.g. omelets, pancakes)
13.9% 10.0% 21.7% 15.2% 7.9% 12.3%
Pasta/rice entrees 7.9% 0.0% 11.6% 8.9% 7.9% 5.5%
Beef-based hot entrees
(e.g. meatloaf, steak, tacos)
7.6% 5.0% 0.0% 11.4% 7.9% 11.0%
Turkey-based hot entrees 
(e.g. roasted, cutlets)
5.4% 10.0% 8.7% 2.5% 3.9% 5.5%
Pork-based hot entrees (e.g. tenderloin, sliced, baked) 4.4% 0.0% 7.2% 1.3% 2.6% 8.2%
Do not expect growth in any of these lunch categories 14.2% 10.0% 2.9% 16.5% 10.5% 27.4%

In the next 2 years, do you expect your dinner daypart (participation/transactions) to increase, decrease, or remain the same?

  Total B&I C&U Schools Hospitals NH/LTC/Sr. Living
Increase 25.3% 0.0% 36.8% 60.0% 26.5% 10.7%
Decrease 2.7% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 5.9% 2.7%
Remain the same 72.0% 100.0% 63.2% 40.0% 67.6% 86.7%

In which three  of the following center of the plate/main entree dinner categories do you expect the most growth in the next 1-2 years?

  Total B&I C&U Schools Hospitals NH/LTC/Sr. Living
Salads/salad bar 29.0% 33.3% 23.8% 30.0% 40.3% 23.0%
Chicken-based hot entrees
(e.g. fried chicken, wings, grilled chicken, tacos)
26.7% 33.3% 44.4% 20.0% 16.4% 21.6%
Vegetable/bean-based hot entrees
(e.g. burritos, stir-fry)
22.6% 0.0% 41.3% 20.0% 16.4% 13.5%
Fish-based entrees
(e.g. fried, baked, grilled, sushi)
22.1% 33.3% 38.1% 0.0% 16.4% 16.2%
Cold/hot sandwiches/subs
(made to order/prepackaged)
20.3% 33.3% 7.9% 40.0% 31.3% 17.6%
Burgers
(e.g. hamburgers/turkey burgers/veggie burgers)
14.7% 0.0% 9.5% 10.0% 19.4% 16.2%
Soup/chili 13.8% 0.0% 3.2% 0.0% 11.9% 27.0%
Beef-based hot entrees
(e.g. meatloaf, steak, tacos)
12.9% 0.0% 9.5% 20.0% 11.9% 16.2%
Breakfast entrees served at dinner
(e.g. omelets, pancakes)
11.5% 0.0% 22.2% 10.0% 3.0% 10.8%
Pork-based hot entrees
(e.g. tenderloin, sliced, baked)
11.1% 0.0% 17.5% 10.0% 3.0% 13.5%
Pasta/rice entrees 10.1% 33.3% 14.3% 10.0% 10.4% 5.4%
Pizza/calzones 9.7% 0.0% 11.1% 10.0% 7.5% 10.8%
Turkey-based hot entrees
(e.g. roasted, cutlets)
8.3% 0.0% 11.1% 0.0% 6.0% 9.5%
Do not expect growth in any of these dinner categories 22.6% 33.3% 11.1% 20.0% 28.4% 27.0%

 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion
Richard cousins

Compass Group confirmed this morning that CEO Richard Cousins was killed on New Year’s Eve in a small-plane crash off the coast of Australia. He was 58.

Cousins was scheduled to step down as CEO in March, after leading the world’s largest foodservice management company for 11 years. His planned successor, Compass COO Dominic Blakemore, has agreed to assume Cousins’ duties immediately.

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible news,” Compass Chairman Paul Walsh said in a statement. “It has been a great privilege to know Richard personally and to work with him for...

Menu Development
to-go meals

Drew Allen didn’t hesitate when asked what he expects of noncommercial dining in the future. “Change,” he says. “We have to change with the times and what our guests are looking for.”

Allen, the director of culinary services at Otterbein Senior Lifestyle Choices in Lebanon, Ohio, says the more the residents and guests at Otterbein change, the more diverse eating habits his team has the chance to explore. One of those changing habits, he says, is diners’ growing desire for portable, made-to-order items . That’s a theme borne out by data, too—and is true across dayparts. Roughly 67%...

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
email

Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

FSD Resources