Adam Tingle, National Account Manager comments on hot beverage trends and opportunities

How big is the hot beverage market in the UK?

With the ever increasing popularity of café culture, it has never been more important to offer high quality hot beverages to entice customers. With consumers becoming ever more discerning, it has also never been more important for operations to perfect the quality and choice of hot drinks on offer.

What are the most popular hot beverages?

The popularity of coffee is clear to see on the high street, with international and national chains, as well as independent outlets, serving up coffee-based drinks of all descriptions and flavours.

Tea, however, has struggled out of home and, despite it being the nation’s favourite beverage; consumers are shunning a cuppa when seeking refreshment out of the home.

What trends are emerging in the hot beverage market?

Coffee syrups are an excellent way of staying on trend, introducing flavours and keeping things seasonal. Sweetbird’s year round syrup range includes; vanilla, caramel, hazelnut and almond then their gingerbread, toffee apple and pumpkin spice syrups can give autumnal and Christmas twists to a menu.

Introducing an excellent quality loose tea such as We Are Tea could increase specialty tea sales and offer an extensive choice and a preparation system that is engaging for customers. A trend of the moment is for fruit and herbal teas because of perceived health benefits. This presents a fantastic opportunity for operators.

What opportunities are there for cross-selling other products with hot beverages?

Added extras can be brought to the offer to make things either easier or more interesting for customers. Using nice toppers, such as cream, marshmallows, chocolate sprinkles, Callebaut white, milk or dark chocolate shavings and salted caramel crisp pearls can add a feeling of indulgence to hot chocolates and certain coffees. Syrups are an ideal way to add flavour.

On the side ideas such as chocolate covered coffee beans, Askeys Café Curls, amaretto biscuits or Country Range gingerbread men can add a special touch.

It wouldn’t be advisable for operators to give items away for free. Instead, added extras should be worked into menu prices or offered as paid for up sells.

An optional add on glass of Prosecco is an ideal way to make an afternoon tea package even more special.

In terms of cakes and biscuits etc. muffins sell best during breakfast and mid morning periods, cake sales generally peak around mid morning and mid afternoon and cookies remain an impulse buy at till points and see even sales across the day. Tea breads are also popular around mid morning as they are perceived to offer the consumer value for money.

Display and point of sale are key, so too is labeling. No matter where your cakes or confectionery are displayed, adding stands of differing heights or risers to the display creates interest. Avoid putting like for like cakes next to each other and where cakes have to be out on display all day, cake stands with domes can help to keep cakes fresh for longer. To help strengthen your displays and brand experience, consider using display props, ensuring their surfaces are suitably prepared for food use.

Consumers love to know where the ingredients and flavours they’re about to eat have come from and also what the nutritional benefits are. Branding, provenance and labeling can reinforce these stories and messages.

Have a good range of new and contemporary flavour cakes and concepts balanced with more traditional, nostalgic, home cooked feel favourites. The full range should be labelled well and creatively displayed.

What one tip would you offer on maximising sales of hot beverages?

Relaxation and indulgence are key motivators when it comes to hot drinks consumption. Operators can target this by highlighting the superior taste sensation their beverages give, as well as positioning a hot drink purchase as a moment of ‘me-time’! Cross-promotions of hot drinks with complimentary foods and snacks will help to maximize the taste sensations derived from hot drinks consumption.

The explosion in coffee shops has created a very knowledgeable customer – they know what good quality coffee and tea tastes like and they won’t accept anything less. Smaller establishments, who don’t have the money or time to invest in Barista training for example should invest as much as they can in a high-end bean-to-cup machine which can produce more than 100 cups of smooth, tasty coffee a day without needing any difficult training.

Operators should offer a menu with a small range of interesting flavours plus best sellers. Using nice quality brands and ingredients such as Callebaut Hot Chocolate Powder can also help to differentiate and keep customers coming back.

Take a Look at our Full Range of Hot & Cold Drinks