Consumer demand for teas and juices is set to continue in 2021, while shoppers’ interest in wellness products and innovative flavors is set to help sales of this segment climb.
“As consumers look for more functionality, uniqueness and pleasure from beverages, marketers continue to develop hybrids that combine the best attributes from different drinks,” according to Packaged Facts’ “U.S. Beverage Market Outlook 2020.”
“This is a trend that should see continued expansion as consumers seem to have an insatiable desire for new and more satisfying drinks that often defy categorization,” including tea and juice, the report noted.
Fruit-flavored beverage volume, including juice and juice drinks, experienced a resurgence in 2020 thanks to more people staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Beverage Marketing Corp. found.
But at c-stores, aseptic juices dollar sales fell 37.3%, while canned juices fell 14.8% and bottled juices dipped 2.2% for the calendar year ending Dec. 27, 2020, per total U.S. convenience IRI liquid data. For the same period, canned and bottled tea dollar sales declined 7.9%, while refrigerated teas dipped 2.8% and kombucha fell 5.8%.
In 2021, category management is going to be key, said Eric Patterson, merchandising manager for Flint, Mich.-based Beacon & Bridge Market, which operates 25 c-stores. “In order to capitalize on an increased demand for traditional big-box items, c-stores will have to abandon expanded assortment in things like auto, general merchandise, etc. Wellness is going to be front of mind for customers, as well.”
Two-for-one promotions work best, said Patterson. “But moving into 2021, three-fors may emerge as more viable promotions used to build the basket.” Especially as customers look to reduce trips.
Tea Appeal Grows
“Tea overall is gaining popularity in many aspects, but especially as the better-for-you caffeine source versus big brother coffee,” noted Buddy Gillespie, director of culinary & restaurant services for JBH Advisory Group in New York City.
As customers look to wellness, tea’s health benefits are giving it a boost.
“Adding adaptogens to teas in 2020 was a hot topic,” Gillespie said. “Turmeric, ashwagandha, maca and tulsi were popular options, and I feel will continue to grow with people needing stress support and looking for ways for potential increased immunity.”
COVID-19 has made customers more aware of how they can and should try to increase health and immunity, Gillespie suggested. “Tea with additives is a quick, convenient way to achieve this, and most consumers at a c-store like and want all things convenience. COVID has changed how people know and feel about overall immunity. What was once just ‘increase your vitamin C intake’ has increased to ‘what are all the ways I can boost my body’s defenses to disease?’”