Insights

The four trends that you don't want to miss out on in 2022

It’s been another challenging year for the foodservice and licensed industry’s in 2021, and certainty has never been more sought after.

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It’s been another challenging year for the foodservice and licensed industries in 2021, and certainty has never been more sought after. With news of booster programmes being accelerated to stop the spread of the latest COVID-19 variant, many Christmas gatherings moving to virtual celebrations as consumer confidence is knocked and more restrictions potentially on the horizon, it’s time to take a look ahead. There is hope business will look up for many in 2022, so which trends can operators focus on to generate substantial footfall as we move into the new year and beyond?

Health and Wellbeing

The growing desire to look after our health and wellbeing isn’t anything new, but it also isn’t going away any time soon. The interest in immune-boosting ingredients, low-sugar and alcohol alternatives, and natural energy has grown exponentially over the past few years, starting even before the pandemic. People still want great taste, but increasingly without the alcohol, sugar or preservatives.

Looking at sugar specifically, 50% of the UK population are actively trying to reduce their intake. The younger generation in particular have concerns about their sweet tooth. Britvic has brands to help them – including Pepsi MAX, 7UP Sugar Free, Purdey’s and Tango Sugar Free. It’s important for operators to be actively stocking and promoting these brands and talking to your customers about low sugar options.

All of these products can also be used to create stunning cocktails and mocktails so that consumers know they aren’t missing out on taste and experience when they order something lower in sugar or alcohol content.

Britvic’s top recommendations

To help keep guests coming back for more low and no alcohol options, we recommend:

  • Make time for low and no: explore day part opportunities and drinks that can satisfy multiple times of day
  • Give low and no menu visibility: the menu is the first place consumers look to choose low and no drinks, with 45% using it to do so. Consumers also state that low and no should have its own section on the menu. Check out our free menu builder tool here
  • Make low and no visible at the bar: in licensed outlets, product visibility is key. 59% of consumers claim it is either difficult or very difficult to see what cans or bottles in the fridge behind the bar are low or non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks. Stronger shelf call-out, more prominent displays and POS are all critical components in ensuring that your products are seen first and foremost

The rise in socialising

No surprise to anyone, after the two years that we have experienced, consumers are continuing to socialise more and get down the pub! The pub is a core part of the British way of life, and it has remained so despite being closed for periods of 2020 and 2021. A sociable get together in one of these places is our number one occasion for eating and drinking out of home - and we missed them during lockdown. Before the April 2021 reopening of pubs and bars, 28% of consumers said they planned to visit their local venues more often than they had done pre-COVID3.

The on-trade is where brands are born; it’s where many drinks brands gain a loyal following, Britvic’s J2O is a shining example of this. 71% of consumers try brands such as this first in licensed premises3. The on-trade reportedly fuelled 73% of the growth for the top 30 low alcohol drinks and spirits brands in the UK over the two years prior to COVID.

Our motivation to visit the pub is deeper and more meaningful than you might think. And the pandemic has had a profound impact. It’s not exaggerating to say the last year has seen a shift in our priorities.

We’ve all been affected. CGA’s research quotes 65% of those surveyed claim COVID has made them realise they need to live in the moment. And in the same vein, Mintel reports 70% of the consumers they polled as agreeing with the proposition that experiences are more important than possessions. 

Britvic’s top tips for licensees to stand out from the crowd:

  • Premium, crafted, signature serves: When consumers visit venues, they’re looking to trade up the choices that they can make and enjoy at home – think cocktails, mocktails, mixed long drinks and premium packaged offerings from major brands that perhaps aren’t readily available in supermarkets
  • Stock premium soft drinks: 70% of premium soft drink consumers want to see more options in pubs, bars and restaurants6. It adds up to a growing market for interesting, adult-orientated soft drink alternatives to alcohol that satisfy both taste and flavour. Our London Essence premium tonics and sodas, in addition to Teisseire syrups, open the door to a range of possibilities here. These premium ingredients can help operators get truly creative with mocktails and non-alcoholic options, meeting customer demand for more choice

Our motivation to visit the pub is deeper and more meaningful than you might think. And the pandemic has had a profound impact. It’s not exaggerating to say the last year has seen a shift in our priorities.

We know what we want, and we know when we want it

Consumers and operators are getting used to the ‘new normal’ – something which seems to be ever-adapting – and this also accounts to their soft drink needs. Consumers are more demanding. They want what they want, when they want it. But their desire for personalisation remains, they are seeking experiences, flavours and serves they can’t get elsewhere. They are also thinking more about their choices. 46% of consumers say they’re more likely now to plan their visits to hospitality venues in more detail than before the pandemic.

We know consumers want better experiences. That’s whether it’s adding flavour to tap water for a better experience at home, or going to a pub or a bar and having a drink that’s really classy or has a theatrical edge. In the licensed trade, this driver isn’t only about being super premium, but also transforming the moment. That could be just as easily a relaxing drink with a pal on a week night after work, or a big night out on a Saturday.

We are already seeing a rise of more premium products worth paying more for across the alcohol industry. But soft drinks are lagging behind, with just 7% of volume being premium offerings compared to 46% for beer, 25.7% for spirits and 15.7% for wine. A third of adults aged 18+ have taken initiatives to limit or reduce their alcohol intake, so there’s a great opportunity to encourage customers to pay more for soft drinks, whether through better quality, better experience or more unusual options.

Britvic’s top tips to offer customers a premium and exciting experience:

  • Serve is critical: ensure you have a range of soft drinks that are served perfectly to engage and inspire your guests, including Britvic’s J2O, London Essence premium tonics and sodas, and Teisseire syrups
  • Think theatre: how can you add theatre to your drink offering? What garnishes can you use to bring a cocktail to life? How can you jazz up your mocktails? Think about introducing theme nights with specific cocktails and taking your customer on a journey. For example, a Mexican night with Tequila Mockingbird cocktails
  • Jazz up your soft drinks menu: a good way to encourage customers to pay more for soft drinks starts with the menu. A simple design upgrade or serving options can encourage trade-up for those looking to reduce their alcohol intake, without feeling left out. Click here to head to our menu tool and Menuology principles, giving clear recommendations on how to elevate the guest experience from the moment they sit down to order

Nostalgia Vs Adventure

Although exotic flavours burst onto the scene each year, they tend to disappear just as quickly. Flavours that have stood the test of time include combinations of rich umami notes combined with sweet and tangy profiles such as citrus and elderflower. The pandemic has trigged a need for comfort and the “known” for many customers 55 and over – they know what they like and they stick to it.

However, for the younger consumers aged 45 and under, new flavours are all the rage. These customers want to experiment and try new things and flavours to widen their knowledge and understanding – and bring more excitement into their life. With the lack of travel over the past two years, this has seen a real surge in interest of global flavours, an increase in demand for fusion dishes and mash-ups which could manifest when it comes to cocktail demands into 2022.

Widen the appeal of your cocktail/mocktail menu with these tips from Britvic:

  • Spice up the menu: try splitting up your menu into “classics tastes” and “try something new” to appeal to both generations
  • Successful pairings: pair classic fruit flavours with less-expected ingredients that also appeal to multiple senses – not just taste. 

Other trends to keep an eye out for are the rise in Tequila - forecast to grow almost 5% by 2028 - the continued rise in veganism, the requirement for added value and the rise in popularity of hard seltzers. 2022 is going to be an interesting time for the licensed trade with consumer demand ever changing, a number of key sporting and seasonal events and hopefully a full 12-months of trading.

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