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Most Popular Beverages: What to Stock to Make Your Team Happy

From kombucha to coconut water, cold brew to fruit-infused sodas, there’s no shortage of drink options for the office breakroom. So, how can you possibly pick? To keep your team happy and refreshed, it’s important to stay up on trends. So, we’re making it easy and giving you the insights for the most popular beverages out there.

Jazzing things up

Getting an energy boost at work was once as easy as filling your cup with coffee straight out of the drip-o-lator. And staying hydrated meant sips from the water fountain. Let’s not forget the office water cooler, where you can still find people using those little paper cones.

While plenty of people still opt for tap or filtered water from communal sources, many are heading to the breakroom for beverage inspiration.

The data speaks volumes

A recent Nielsen/Wells Fargo Securities report showed significant growth for these beverages at the end of 2018:

  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Carbonated soft drinks (CSDs)
  • Energy drinks (however, not sports drinks)
  • Sparkling flavored waters
  • Ready-to-drink coffee beverages
  • Bottled water
most popular beverages - bottled water

And, according to a poll by The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), water is still king when compared to coffee and soft drinks. Out of 3,000 adults surveyed, “94% considered bottled water to be a healthier choice than soft drinks.” And “63% [said] bottled water is among their ‘most preferred’ beverages.”

In comparison, coffee came in at 62% and soft drinks at 58%.

Plus, a lot of stats show sparkling flavored waters at the top of the most popular beverages list. So, you should also add plenty of specialty waters to the break room mix too.

Beyond new ways to enjoy an old favorite, what else is trending out there?

A bevy of beverages

Beverage development experts at BevNology have identified at least 10 categories of bottled beverages leading the market today. They’re listed in italics below. The descriptions are our take on what each beverage type may include:

  1. Soft drinks and carbonated beverages – The usual suspects from all the big industry names, including fruit sodas, malt beverages and carbonated herbal drinks
  2. Energy drinks – Includes caffeine-infused energy boosters
  3. Dairy, soy and other drinks – Derived from a range of traditional and non-traditional sources, such as nut milks, plants, and soy proteins
  4. Natural beverages – Sodas, teas, herbals, and botanicals, naturally fermented or produced with minimal artificial ingredients
  5. Waters – Fortified water, most often with flavors, minerals, or vitamins
  6. Juice and juice beverages – Fresh and shelf-stable juices made from fruit, vegetables or some combination of the two
  7. Coffee and tea – Look for new bean and leaf varieties, ready-to-drink offerings, technology innovations, and new flavor combos
  8. Sports beverages – Drinks tailored to professional athletes and weekend warriors, often containing supplemental vitamins and minerals
  9. Functional beverages – Beverages that offer substantial health benefits, to the degree that they may even serve as meal replacements
  10. New age beverages – Herb- or juice-based drinks, as well as iced and cold brew coffees and teas

Ten categories may seem like a lot to keep track of. But, when sending a message to your team that you care about what they like, is there such a thing as too many choices? We don’t think so.

To help narrow it down, check out our suggestions for what drinks will work best for your business. Click the icon below that best matches your industry type to get a suggested mix.

Most Popular Drinks - White Collar Most Popular Drinks - Higher Ed Most Popular Drinks - Healthcare Most Popular Drinks - Manufacturing Most Popular Drinks - Call Center

Refreshed and functional

It’s true – people don’t like to be thirsty, but there’s more to pleasing everyone than that. In recent years, more and more consumers now want their drinks to pack some nutritional benefits, too.

In fact, a study by GlobalData cited on Wellmune’s website, states that “73% of consumers consider food and drink products made with added nutrients appealing.” In addition, “42% of consumers proactively seek products that will improve their health.” Move over water and coffee, meet the “functional” beverage.

Functional beverages hydrate, yes, but bring added health benefits to the party, too. They can come fully loaded with perks, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and/or proteins, or some other raw material deemed good for us. Depending on what’s included, a functional beverage can even serve as a meal replacement.

Speaking of the most popular beverages…

Kombucha (kuh m boo-chuh). What is it and why is it popping up everywhere from the gym juice bar to the office break room? And, is it really that good for us or is it just fun to say?

Here’s the low down… Kombucha is a fermented, gluten-free, sweetened beverage. It’s usually made with black or green tea and derived from a SCOBY, or a culture of bacteria and yeast. And, fun fact – depending on its fermentation process, kombucha can have varying degrees of alcohol content.

Believed to have originated in Manchuria (China), it’s becoming popular on trade routes throughout Asia, Russia and Europe. And, kombucha’s gut-pleasing microbials and cultures have made it a favorite in wellness communities for centuries.

Now it’s going mainstream. In fact, research shows that kombucha has a sustained spike in market share – by as much as 31.4%. As a result, some brands are providing “on-tap service” in an effort to bring the drink to “consumers where they work, live and play.”

A perk on the go

Flavored waters. Natural ingredients. Functional beverages that do nutritional double-duty. Add to these trends another newcomer, the ready-to-drink beverage or RTD. Imagine your iced coffee or cold brew already doctored up, just the way you like it. From straight-up-no-frills to draft lattes, RTDs make your beverage ready to grab and go.

To sum it up, new products are coming to market every day. This overview is just the tip of the ice cube. Let us help you figure out what beverage mix is right for your office. Check out the link below for our survey template. Simply save, then distribute to your team and find out what drinks they would like to see in the breakroom.

Together, we can look at today’s most popular beverages and turn the breakroom cooler into a refreshing office oasis. Not to mention, make your whole team happy with their drink options. Cheers!

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