The term “healthy” is everywhere. We see it on packages in the grocery aisles and bottles in the refrigerators. It’s decorating our Facebook newsfeeds along with the latest trends in diet and exercise. It’s become synonymous with low fat in some circles, low sugar in others. But when it comes to selling beverages, what does “healthy” really mean to the consumer?
Customers themselves are redefining the term. They’re focusing less on nutrition labels and more on ingredients. They want drinks that are fresher and less processed. They’re ordering beverages that take effort to make—ones they can’t simply pull off the local grocery store’s shelf, uncap and drink. We’re talking mixers that are homemade or fresh-picked. They want locally-sourced herbs and handpicked fruit garnishes.
In addition to muddling your customer’s next beverage, you can also take a look at your menu. Even the way you describe a drink can begin an experience for the consumer long before the first sip. For a healthy drink, consumers are looking for premium cues. A descriptive word or two can make all the difference between ‘a lemonade and vodka’ and ‘a freshly-squeezed lemonade and vodka’ to your customers. Are you creating this experience in your business?
The good news is, implementing this style of beverage into your menu isn’t difficult, even if you also have consumers who prefer the classic definition of healthy. You can easily keep a drink under 150 calories with juices, nectar and lower proof alcohol. It’s the best of both worlds when it comes to the healthier, better-for-you beverage trending in the market. Just remember, never call a drink ‘skinny’ when you want to market it as healthy. Customers tend to think it means poor flavor and crazy amounts of artificial sweetener. You definitely don’t want to give the wrong impression.
Besides with fresh ingredients and a low calorie count, you don’t need the word ‘skinny’. You can keep your customers satisfied, your margins profitable, and your drinks flowing without it.
Tell us, what trends have you heard about in the market and want more information on?
Coffee Fest Dallas 2016: Where passionate coffee and tea professionals will learn skills, receive education and experience new products, plus great networking!
The Big Train team is excited to participate once again in this leading tea and coffee trade show.
Coffee Fest has been serving the specialty coffee and gourmet tea industries since 1992 and is viewed by most as the best trade show in America and around the world specifically for those involved with retailing coffee, tea and related products.
Everything under the sun that is found in an upscale coffee shop on either side of the counter, including the counter was on the exhibition floor.
The best coffee retail education, training, and workshops were present to network and learn from each other.
In 2013, we took home a best new product award, taking home third place in the New Product Showcase for our Fit Frappe Spiced Chai!
Speeding up service times & Elevating drink consistency
What stands out on the menu to you?
Let’s talk about dining out the offerings that grab your eye from a menu. Besides the specific dishes, personally, I’m attracted to words and phrases like: local, “house made,” and “house batched.” It just catches my eye, am I alone?
Obviously not everything can be made in house or local, because of sourcing, resources and costs. But I’ve noticed more businesses are batching ingredients on site. Of course places like bakeries already do this with their pastries, and the realization of the benefits are catching on within the beverage world as well.
When a business has a seasonal special promotion or LTO beverage it will hopefully sell a lot per day. Pre-batching this drink may have a lot of benefits, I’m not suggesting that all offerings should be pre-batched, but some of the big sellers can be, let’s look at why and how.
Benefits of batching drinks
Consistent flavor delivery, a huge benefit, in my opinion more important than service times. A big urn of the daily special can be pre-batched, taste-tested, then everyone knows for sure that it will delight customers.
Faster service times, when everything is prepared you can pull or pour the item quickly.
Less dishes to wash, may seem like a small benefit, but think how many times items like spoons or measuring pitchers need to get washed between drinks.
Batch during slower times, such as being part of the nightly closing routine, or slower afternoon.
Considerations of batching drinks
Need a big urn or pitcher, which could mean increased storage needs. Also its another item to buy, and if its not pretty to look at then where should it be stored?
Keeping it cool can be of concern, there are great machines that are designed to circulate and keep cool, or storing in a refrigerator works.
Guests may not feel its made special for them, its possible to lose that theatre of preparation in front of a guest.
Ingredients that don’t batch or hold well
Carbonation doesn’t last forever. When I batch drinks, like mojitos, I will measure all ingredients besides the ice, soda water, and garnishes. There is still a huge time saving factor by having 4 of the 6 ingredients prepared for me, I just add the last details and pieces.
Pay attention to expiration dates. Remember that the beverage you scale up will expire when the first ingredient goes bad. Batching is great for daily operations, the idea is to batch enough for one day only.
Garnishes always enhance a beverage, but you can’t batch orange slices and expect them to come out when needed. Batch all your liquids and place the finishing touches as you normally would.
Ice presents some interesting factors. If making a cocktail ice serves as a chiller and as a diluting agent. Ask yourself if the drink needs a little water in the recipe to replicate ice melt.
Other things to think about
I made a punch that needed a little water in it to replicate ice melt. I batched it up perfectly, then to keep it cold I had put the empty urn into a freezer the night before, and separately froze five pint glasses with the punch in it. Day of the event I filled the ice cold urn with punch, then added the pint-cubes, which kept it chilled and also melted without diluting further.
What about hot beverages you ask? If the hot drink has texture, like a latte, it will not work the same in a vacuum system like an airpot or pump pot. Heated spinners are an option. Sometimes just preparing a batch, having it chilled, then heating on demand is still a big time saver. The longest I’ve let a hot pre-batched drink with dairy sit out for sampling was four hours, I don’t know at what point the milk spoils, so I was tasting hourly, then decided to dump it all and start a fresh batch.
Using a granita machine or bubbler is really like making a big batch of beverages. But I wanted to warn you about too much agitation in a machine. I have heard of someone batching a high fat drink into a machine that turned the whole drink into butter. Wouldn’t that be a surprise?
Pre-batching drinks has saved me lots of time, it is very efficient to use when setting up and preparing for a party, event, or just a popular drink that is made frequently. I wish you the best, and as always if you have questions, please email me directly, Levi.Andersen@Kerry.com.
Try this OJ Peach smoothie recipe. Something fun, smooth and familiar for your morning. More than just a beverage, a delicious start for a warmer day and a compliment to your breakfast. You know, its also a great little snack as well. The DaVinci Gourmet Invigorator base has green coffee extract in it so you get a small boost of caffeine from it. So enjoy your morning, its going to be a good day.
Taking a very familiar dessert flavor and combining it with a less common flavor of Matcha. This is a fun twist for a whole new blended beverage experience.
Talking to Levi Andersen, the Beverage Product Specialist for Kerry (DaVinci Gourmet, Big Train, Oregon Chai brands), had this to say about the genesis of the beverage recipe:
“Lately I’ve been playing around with matcha tea, its a whole new ingredient to me. As I was playing with matcha I found that the deep and more bitter flavors of matcha go very well with sweeter beverages such as this Cookies n Creme base. Together they create a balance.”
Cookie Covered Matcha Tea
2 scoops (8 tbsp) Big Train Cookies ‘N Crème
1 tbsp matcha green tea
5 oz milk
12 oz ice
You can top it with crushed up cookies. Notice these cookies were smashed together with the creme filling still inside. Doing it this way helps the chunks to remain rather larger and clump together. If you don’t like the way that looks then remove the filling before crushing the cookies. You may even want to use crushed cookies (without the filling) and add in white sugar to achieve a great black and white balance.
Bubble Gum Milkshake
4 oz milk
12 oz ice cream
2 scoops (80 g) Big Train Kidz Kreamz Bubble Gum
Spindle or blend together
This Bubble Gum Milkshake was a surprise to us. Amazing how it delivers on that nostalgic flavor! Levi Andersen, the in-house barista had this to say: “I was playing around with milkshakes recently and wanted to do something totally different that I had never done before. Spindling a powder into the milkshake base was wonderful!”
All of the Kidz Kreamz flavors work in this recipe. The Bubble Gum works with chunks of fruit or a little DaVinci Gourmet Fruit Innovations syrup as well. What bubble Gum combos have you tried before?