Smoothies are not just for the warmer months of the year. They have become a year-round lifestyle choice for many consumers—a mainstay in their diet and a treat they look forward to during all seasons.
So, keep the smoothies coming even as the weather turns cold. They will keep patrons happy, and with the right recipes, can be a solid source of nutrition.
Why cold beverages are hot
Over the past couple of decades, large smoothie and restaurant chains helped to establish the habit of year-round smoothies. Many people now look forward to smoothies as a regular source of nutrition or functional benefits.
More broadly, the trend in made-to-order beverages is toward cold over hot. Younger generations especially prefer cold, high-quality beverages with innovative flavors. According to proprietary surveys, about 74% of the drinks sold at large coffee chains are cold rather than hot, with younger consumers saying they like the convenience and flavor of cold coffee drinks.
Which smoothies are best for cold-weather months?
The smoothies on the menu in the summer months can be the same ones on the menu in the colder months. Establish menu mainstays and maintain them year-round. Then, rotate in a couple of seasonal offerings—for example, items with pumpkin, cinnamon and all-spice in the fall and during the holidays.
In general, what people want year-round are functional benefits. They want their smoothies to serve a particular health-related purpose, such as building immune health, improving brain function, recovering from a workout, getting an energy boost, etc.
The point of functional foods is to answer the “why” question—why order this beverage and not another one? To help people make sense of their options, give the smoothie a purposeful name and list upfront some ingredients that support that purpose. Patrons will appreciate this effort.
Made-to-order and grab-and-go options offer convenience
Smoothies are usually a made-to-order item, but cafeterias and commissaries have another option because of their refrigerated displays: grab-and-go smoothies. Smoothies will keep on ice for up to eight hours and will not separate if blended properly using a Vitamix®. They are ideal for patrons pressed for time. They can just pick one up and pay, rather than waiting several minutes in line for one to be made.
Grab-and-go smoothies are also a good option for any foodservice operation that is short on staff. The Quiet One® by Vitamix makes up to eight 6-oz. servings per batch, and the Vitamix XL® blends up to 32 6-oz. smoothies in one batch, enabling staff to keep the refrigerated displays stocked with appetizing and nutritional options for patrons all year long.
The Vitamix Culinary Team consults with foodservice professionals, not only on blending, but also on kitchen efficiency and recipe and menu development. For more information, contact Steve Hosey at SHosey@Vitamix.com.
This post is sponsored by Vitamix