Smoothie bowls take off

superfood smoothie bowl

From Island Oasis.

Smoothies are a college campus classic. Although they’re already a versatile offering—with customizable combinations of fruit, vegetables and different bases—a new format is on the rise: the smoothie bowl.

As the name implies, smoothie bowls are served in a bowl, and are thicker than traditional smoothies because they’re designed to be eaten with a spoon. They’re frequently topped with chopped fruits, nuts, seeds and other add-ins, which enhance the visual appeal. In fact, smoothie bowls have already cemented themselves as one of the most Instagram-worthy choices, with carefully arranged toppings and rainbow of colors.

For operators, smoothie bowl combinations are endless, offering diners an extremely customizable option as well as a healthy meal alternative.

Catering to the busy, health-conscious consumer

Smoothies have been popular with health-conscious consumers for decades because they offer an easy way to get a full dose of fruits—and, increasingly, a full dose of vegetables, too. Operators can also offer superfood-like additions, such as chia seeds, avocado or flax, making smoothie bowls healthy and delicious, not just pretty to look at. Some smoothie bowls are finished off with a drizzle of honey, agave or maple syrup for a little extra sweetness.

With this trend taking off across the country, it’s time for operators to consider adding smoothie bowls to the menu.

“Smoothie bowls are becoming the new go-to meal replacement for people of all ages,” says Joey Torkelson, beverage mixologist and applications manager at Kerry Brands. “High in protein and lower in sugar, these decadent ‘treats’ are showing up in smoothie bars and coffee shops across the country.”

Smoothie bowls appeal to consumers looking for healthy options, but they’re also a convenient, portable choice. “They’re very affordable and easy to eat on the go,” Torkelson says. “Busy consumers are always in search of a healthy alternative to sugar-laden smoothies or ice cream shakes.”

Smoothie bowls on the menu

Although the smoothie bowl trend is starting to take off, traditional smoothies are still more common on menus. While data from Datassential finds that 45% of consumers have expressed an interest in trying a smoothie bowl, this item appears on less than 1% of menus. This leaves tremendous opportunity for operators.

For foodservice operators that already offer smoothies, converting them into bowl form doesn’t take much. In fact, some operations are starting to offer the option to purchase any smoothie as a bowl. Not only is this a versatile option, but it can also be appealing for consumers who may have heard of the smoothie bowl trend but haven’t tried it yet.

Although the price may vary depending on the ingredients, many smoothie bowls are comparable in price to the traditional version. As consumers continue to express interest in this trend, smoothie bars will want to consider expanding their offerings.

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