Having a cold drink in the wintertime may not be everyone’s first choice, but for plenty of consumers, it’s the only way to go. For those consumers, missing out on seasonal flavorings that are often only offered for hot drinks can be a letdown. For retailers, offering popular seasonal flavors for cold drinks as well as hot can be a big opportunity. And while pumpkin spice is hugely popular in fall, retailers may not be as prepared for other flavors—or even know what flavors consumers might be looking for.
Specialty coffees, juices and smoothies are on the rise in convenience stores, and iced coffee in particular has grown 31% in c-stores year over year, according to Technomic’s 2018 Beverage Consumer Trend Report. In fact, cold coffee is outpacing regular hot coffee when it comes to the number of consumers who have ordered it from foodservice in the past month: Sixty-seven percent of consumers have ordered cold or iced coffee in the past month, compared to 59% who ordered regular hot coffee.
This shift from hot drinks to chilled ones indicates that consumers may be on the lookout for other trending beverages, such as cold brew, flavored iced coffee and more.
What flavors are hot in cold drinks?
Technomic’s report found that the fastest-growing flavors for coffee drinks include Irish cream, cinnamon and toffee. While those trending flavors aren’t necessarily known as seasonal flavors, it’s safe to say they’d be perfect offerings for wintertime treats thanks to their association with cold weather months and consumers’ familiarity with them.
Other popular winter flavors include peppermint, peppermint mocha and maple.
Increase appeal with seasonal, limited-time offers
Limited-time offerings can help push customers to order something because the exclusivity and perceived scarcity can make the drinks seem more exciting. By posting signage that indicates the flavors won’t be around forever, customers may be more inclined to purchase a specific beverage.
According to Technomic’s Q4 2018 C-Store MarketBrief, 32% said c-stores offering their favorite flavors would encourage them to purchase coffee beverages more often, while 24% said customization would encourage purchases and 19% said new or limited options would get them to buy more coffee.
Because customization can help increase the appeal of seasonal beverages, offer seasonal flavors in the format of syrups or flavored creamers for cold coffee drinks.
Considering 32% of consumers say they add flavored creamer to cold or iced coffee and 26% say they add flavored syrups, these can be great ways to get more customers interested in seasonal offerings.
Warm up to cold drinks
While cold beverages may not seem like they’d be hot sellers in winter, that’s not the case. With cold and iced coffee formats, including cold-brew coffee, on the rise, it’s wise for retailers to treat these chilled drinks the same way they would hot drinks. Offering an array of traditional and seasonal flavors is the perfect way to keep customers coming back for more cold drinks.
This post is sponsored by FETCO