The food and beverage industry is progressing at a consistent rate. From product development to putting the product in customers’ hands, the industry is utilizing beverage industry trends and restaurant technology to increase efficiency and success.
The beverage industry is grouped into the hospitality industry. As a forever evolving industry, most beverage companies look into diversifying themselves from the competition. They do this by innovating new products to encourage market growth and supporting consumers to meet market demand. They do this through demand planning.
In a post-pandemic world, consumer profiles are continuing to change and new trends are forming. These include DTC trends, restaurant industry trends, fresh produce trends, and food trends. In order for beverage companies to succeed, they have to keep up with the current beverage industry overview and adapt to these changes and trends. They can also influence some of the best beverage products out on the market, like the best coffee roasters.
This post includes a beverage industry overview and dives into the beverage industry trends in 2024. These beverage trends will help your restaurant stay on top of customer needs and, in turn, improve customer satisfaction, customer acquisition efforts, and customer retention.
What Is the Beverage Industry?
The beverage industry is responsible for manufacturing drinks and ready-to-drink (RTD) products. These include bottled water, energy drinks, soft drinks, coffee, milk and dairy products, different types of alcohol, and nutritional beverages.
This industry comprises both international conglomerates and small start-up businesses. The beverage industry generates billions of dollars and employs countless people including those working on the front end. Such positions include bar staff, waiters, servers, and the restaurant manager.
Key Takeaway: Understanding the beverage industry will allow you to stay on top of the current beverage trends that most customers are looking for when dining at restaurants. These include the beverage trends for 2024.
How Much Is the Beverage Industry Worth?
The beverage industry is valued at $146 billion in the United States. This includes non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage production as well as distribution.
Non-alcoholic beverage sales are estimated to bring in about $415 million each year. Alcoholic beverage sales, on the other hand, generate about $253 billion each year.
The most popular non-alcoholic beverage in the United States is water and for alcoholic beverages, it’s beer. Water accounts for about 51% of non-alcoholic beverage consumption in the U.S.
The beverage industry is constantly growing and experts predict an annual growth rate of 1.7% until 2027. This includes individual beverage industries like wine industry growth rates.
Food and Beverage Industry Overview
In 2024, food and beverage trends focus on pricing and fulfilling customers’ ever-changing needs and lifestyles. Market research is essential for food and beverage businesses in order for them to understand customer trends and patterns. It also helps to personalize experiences, enhance their offerings, and control quality.
With continuous market research, businesses can use insights and analytics to identify new opportunities and act on them before their competition. In recent years, some food and beverage trends have included:
Consumers have been increasingly mobile recently as more have begun working from home and continued in the office. Everyday schedules have been more flexible as workplaces started offering fully remote and hybrid work options. These variations mean that fast food and fine dining restaurant establishments are likely to see increases in sales.
On-the-go food products are growing increasingly popular. These include pre-packaged healthy snacks, vegan-friendly freezer meals, and portable protein shakes. Consumers are interested in food and beverages that can accommodate their flexible lifestyles.
DTC or direct to consumer is one of the leading methods of selling products. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers started ordering more groceries online.
This made companies look into how to sell food products online. They’ve mastered ways to sell dairy online, wholesale meat, wholesale seafood, and wholesale produce through online marketplace platforms. Look into how to run a wholesale business to understand how to get started.
Due to the pandemic, businesses saw a strong increase in digital strategy innovation. This isn’t a temporary trend, either.
Incorporating digital offerings into the food and beverage industry can speed up business growth. It can help the backend of operations with inventory management and provide a quicker ordering process with restaurant QR code menus.
Online Ordering Systems
Consumers are ordering for pickup or delivery at least once per week, on average. Restaurants in the food and beverage industry have to ensure that they have online ordering systems that are functional and easy to use. This includes an internal and external perspective.
Some restaurants and food and beverage businesses have shifted from selling only prepared foods to also selling different subscription boxes. These include coffee bean subscription kits, a meat subscription box, a produce subscription box, and other custom subscription boxes.
Beverage Industry Trends for 2024
With the rapid growth in the beverage industry, it’s common for industry trends to change on a regular basis. If you’re wondering how to increase restaurant sales as a restaurant manager, these beverage trends 2024 can help. In order to succeed, beverage businesses must adapt to the trends sooner rather than later.
Here are some beverage industry trends for 2024:
Sugary drinks aren’t as popular as they once were with consumers. In fact, many consumers now prefer functional waters.
These include still or sparkling waters and herb-infused waters. Some of these waters include different additives like minerals, vitamins, herbs, acids, fruits, and vegetables.
The shift toward healthier lifestyles following the pandemic is one of the common drivers of this trend. These waters also offer a convenient way for consumers to get the additional nutrition they desire.
Innovative Alcohol Flavors and Mocktails
Ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages are predicted to reach a market value of $19.46 billion by 2027. Consumers are interested in trying these RTD alcoholic drinks in different flavors including citrus fruits, berries, apples, and tropical fruits.
The common flavors of these RTD beverages include ingredients that are presumably healthier for consumers which makes them more appealing. Most of these beverages have low alcohol content or no alcohol content at all.
Since consumers are focused on healthier options, low- and no-alcohol content is a big driving factor for this trend. Many consumers still want to enjoy mixed drinks with complex flavors, but they might not be interested in consuming alcohol.
New product development is big in the beverage industry. Some beverage companies are developing new products by mixing the top qualities of existing drinks. By doing this, they’re bridging the gap between different product categories.
Some hybrid drinks include energy drinks that have high electrolytes and improve hydration as opposed to standard ones that have different stimulants. Hybrid sparkling waters can contain natural caffeine from tea and juice flavors.
Various Coffee Formats
The ready-to-drink coffee and tea market is predicted to surpass $133 billion by 2027. Consumers are fueled by coffee in the modern world and the demand is only increasing.
With a rise in health awareness and demand for low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives, different coffee formats are being introduced to the market. RTD coffee includes coffee beverages that are sold in cans, bottles, and cartons for easy on-the-go carry.
Plant-Based and Dairy-Free Alternatives
A growing niche in the food and beverage industry is dairy-free and plant-based alternatives. Dairy alternatives were originally developed for vegan consumers, but the niche market for this product has expanded to a broader range. These include omnivores and flexitarians that are concerned about climate change, their health, and animal welfare.
Almond milk is a dominating product in this segment, but oat milk is one that is fast-growing. In 2024, potato milk is on the rise and is one of the trends that hasn’t gone as viral as was expected.
Many consumers are interested in reducing their sugar intake. Beverage companies are starting to adapt to this by producing new no-sugar or reduced-sugar variations of their existing products.
RTD coffees, tea varietes, juices, sodas, and energy drinks are all hopping on the bandwagon for this trend. Some product examples include Red Bull Sugar-Free, Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar, Better Juice, and Monster Energy Zero.
The Federal Drug Administration hasn’t approved the use of CBD in food or beverages that are being sold via interstate commerce. However, CBD is still an ingredient to watch.
Some marketers are introducing CBD-infused products into the market. Verywell is a line of sparkling waters by Molson Coors. They contain hemp-derived CBD, as well as adaptogens through a subsidiary. However, these waters are only available in the state of Colorado for the time being.
Frequently Asked Questions About Beverage Industry Trends
Beverage industry trends are changing rapidly and this is partly due to the rise of social media influence. When it comes to beverage trends 2024, it's important to stay ahead of what is popular so that you can consistently bring in new and existing customers to your establishment. The following questions will help you as a business owner and restaurant manager.
What Is the Beverage Industry?
The beverage industry is part of the restaurant and hospitality industry that manufactures drink products along with ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. Examples of these include bottled water, energy drinks, soft drinks, coffee products, milk products, alcoholic beverages, and nutritional beverages.
What Segment of the Beverage Industry Is the Fastest Growing?
The fastest-growing segment of the beverage industry is bottled water. Between 2021 and 2026, the bottled water segment is expected to grow at a 7.4% annual growth rate.
What Are the 2024 Beverage Industry Trends?
The 2024 beverage industry trends include:
- Functional waters
- Innovative alcohol flavors and mocktail drinks
- Hybrid beverages
- Various coffee formats
- Plant-based and dairy-free alternatives
- Sugar reduction
- CBD beverages
What Are the Most Popular Cocktails in 2024?
Seven of the most popular cocktails in 2024 include:
What Are the Beverage Trends Expected to Be in the Future?
As beverages are one of the most competitive market niches, companies need to constantly adapt and innovate in order to increase their market share. That’s why beverage trends become a thing really fast. Businesses in this niche have very big marketing budgets and they constantly advertise their new products and innovations. This leads to better awareness of the current trends compared to other markets. Allow us to share a few beverage industry trends that are expected to become popular in the near future.
- Better-for-you beverages. As more and more people are striving to live healthier, low-carb beverages and other drinks that improve health are expected to be on the rise. That includes infused beverages and drinks with healthy ingredients such as matcha or yerba mate.
- Sustainability. Environmental consciousness is a trend that is here to stay. Manufacturers are expected to reduce their ecological footprint as consumers expect that. Furthermore, governments and regulatory agencies will likely introduce new rules and laws for manufacturing not only of beverages but for other products as well.
- Asian and Latin American drinks. In recent years, matcha and yerba mate are two beverages that have become more popular in the West. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from Asia and Latin America are expected to become more popular in the near future.