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Beverage Trends: Culinary Trend Mapping Report

The beverage market has always been large and competitive. But a scene that 15 years ago was dominated by soda, juice, milk, coffee and tea is now splintering into numerous smaller niches, and as a result, consumers are able to find beverages to meet their specific needs. This is evidenced by tremendous industry growth.

So just what kind of overarching needs are consumers looking to satisfy from beverages today? We’ve identified two primary and several secondary benefit drivers propelling the trends covered in this report: Better-for-you, including functional, nutritional, and holistic wellness, and quality quest, including artisan-made, and retro/nostalgic.

With those drivers in mind, we found exciting beverages at all five stages of the Trend Map:

  • Stage 1
    • New Cocktails are experiencing a renaissance as they connect to consumer interests in retro experiences.
    • Exotic Functional Flavors: which superfruit flavors will be the pomegranate and goji berry of tomorrow?
  • Stage 2
    • Eastern Wisdom: traditional ingredients from Asia are crossing over from food to drinks, bestowing wellness properties.
  • Stage 3
    • Coconut Water: nutrient-packed, it appeals to diverse demographics.
    • 21st Century Sodas are wowing the market.
  • Stage 4
    • Kids’ Functionals promise a host of benefits such as brain development, stress relief, satiety, immunity, and more
  • Stage 5
    • Stevia has been approved for use in beverages, and beverage manufacturers have moved swiftly to get stevia-sweetened drinks to market.

The potential market for today’s new beverages is a large one, with diverse groups ranging from active Baby Boomers to savvy Gen X parents to youthful Gen Yers looking for healthful, exciting and unique drinks. Because of this diversity in demographics and psychographics, the beverage offerings are expanding, and we believe the varied needs of consumers make it an arena with plenty of room for growth and innovation.

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The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot - or what will be - in the food world!

Using the Center for Culinary Development’s (CCD) signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method identifying which culinary trends are “gaining traction” and which are simply flashes in the pan, each report concentrates on a theme, or trend, that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established ingredients, cooking styles and products along the Trend Map that are driving this theme.

Each report is a 75+ page journal packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else.

Each Issue of the Culinary Trends Mapping Report

  • Identifies the maturity level of foods and ingredients according to CCD’s unique, proprietary 5-stage trend mapping process.
  • Concentrates on a theme that is affecting the food industry, and then looks at the emerging and established trends along the Trend Map that affect—or are affected by—this theme.
  • Delves into these trends and what they mean for you and the manufacturing, retailing, and foodservice industries.
  • Gives strategic insight into how consumers are thinking of and reacting to new foods and ingredients.
  • Provides business know-how regarding opportunities, challenges, and ways to implement current trends into foodservice, retail, and packaged goods operations.
  • Presents a feature interview with a member chef from CCD’s exclusive 80+ member Chefs’ Council that offers expert analysis and his or her perspective on a specific trend.

Trend Mapping

Trend Mapping is guided by the premise that major food trends pass through five distinct stages on their way to the mainstream:

  • Stage 1: The ingredient, dish and/or cooking technique appears at upscale dining establishments, ethnic and popular independent restaurants.
  • Stage 2: The item is featured in specialty consumer-oriented food magazines, such as Gourmet and Bon Appetit plus retail stores such as Sur La Table that target culinary professionals and serious home cooks.
  • Stage 3: The item begins to appear in mainstream chain restaurants -- Applebee's or Chili's --as well as retail stores such as Williams-Sonoma that target recreational cooks.
  • Stage 4: Publications such as Family Circle and Better Homes and Gardens pick up the buzz.
  • Stage 5: Finally, the trend makes its way to quick service restaurant menus and is either starting to appear or is having increased presence on grocery store shelves.


Published bimonthly, the Culinary Trend Mapping Report is available for purchase as a single issue or a six-issue subscription.

In the News

Niche Products, Novel Benefits Propel Beverage Market

New York, October 5, 2009 - The sweet spot in the U.S. beverage market, long dominated by a handful of major brand lines, has shifted to niche products that target a diverse set of consumer needs, occasions, and benefits.

So what consumer needs can today’s beverages profitably quench? According to the Beverage Trends: Culinary Trend Mapping Report just released by the Center for Culinary Development (San Francisco, CA) and Packaged Facts (Rockville, MD), two drivers are spurring sales in the beverage market:

  • Better-for-you, the number-one driver in the new beverage landscape, including functional, nutritional boost, and holistic wellness beverages
  • Quality quest, including organic, local, artisan-made, and retro/nostalgic beverages

These drivers are strong wind in the sails of various new product trends that the Center for Culinary Development situates along its proprietary Trend Map®.

Cocktails, for example, are shaking it up again at the earliest stage of the Trend Map®.  Fueled in part by the passion of creative bartenders and artisan spirit-makers, cocktails are experiencing a renaissance as they connect to consumer interest in retro experiences.  Having struck such a powerful chord among consumers, the mysteries of mixology will spill over to inspire new versions of non-alcoholic packaged beverages.

At the middle stage of the Trend Map® is coconut water, a refreshing and electrolyte-packed tropical treat.  Thanks to recent advances in technology and packaging, coconut water has drifted from beachside to store shelf, where single-serve packages boast an impressive range of health benefits.  Coconut water is a rich source of potassium, calcium, and magnesium, has no fat or cholesterol, is relatively low in sugar, and purportedly can help regulate blood pressure and maintain heart health.

At the final stage of the Trend Map® is stevia, which the Food and Drug Administration approved in late 2008 for use in foods and beverages.  Stevia has been called the “holy grail” of sweeteners: it comes from a natural source, and has all of the sweetness of sugar but none of the calories.  The FDA announcement caused immediate commotion in the beverage world; within days, stevia-sweetened drinks that had been waiting in the wings were rushed to market, in part by soft drink manufacturers hoping to reverse the declining fortunes of that category.

Other beverage trends profiled in this report include exotic functional flavors such as acerola and yumberry; kombucha, drinking vinegars, and “Ayurveda in a bottle” drinks redolent of Eastern wisdom, holistic health, and longevity; 21st century sodas made with cane sugar and exotic natural flavors; and functional kids’ beverages that promise a host of benefits for developing bodies.

The market potential for on-trend new beverages remains significant, with diverse segments ranging from Gen Y teens to savvy Gen X parents and sporty Boomers looking for what’s next in healthful and premium new drinks. “Because of this diversity in consumer demographics and psychographics,” emphasizes Kimberly Egan, CEO of the Center for Culinary Development, “the beverage market is an arena with plenty of room for growth and innovation.”

The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is co-published by the Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts.

About the Center for Culinary Development - CCD is a full-service food and beverage strategic innovation company that successfully blends culinary creativity with consumer insights, trends and marketing expertise.

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products.  Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services. 

Executive Summary
Why Beverages? — Kimberly Egan
Executive Summary

Trend Summary
Stage 1 -
Exotic Functional Flavors
Stage 2 -
Eastern Wisdom
Stage 3 -
Coconut Water
21st Century Sodas
Stage 4 -
Kids’ Functionals
Stage 5 -

Chef Speak: CCD Chefs’ Council Voices
Yanni Kehagiaras: The Gospel of Cocktails

Strategic Implications
Strategic Opportunities for Beverage Trends

Source List

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