May 2006 Edition
Frozen Blended Beverages Offer a Slushy Twist on Coffee and Juice

If you’ve seen people walking down the street lately slurping brightly coloured frosted juice beverages or savouring cold and creamy frozen coffee drinks, you are not alone.  These tasty treats have become a hot trend - transforming your typical daily beverages, and giving a new attitude to traditional coffee and juice.

Frozen juice beverages, also known as “smoothies,” are a colourful, appealing combination of fruit and finely crushed ice, while frozen coffee beverages are a refreshingly chilly twist on the café latte or mocha.

While frozen blended coffees have been delighting European taste buds for centuries, the past decade has seen their popularity in North America surge. Coffeehouses across the continent have brought the coffee “frappé” into the mainstream.

 

And there doesn’t appear to be any decline in the demand in sight. In fact, in 2005 servings of frozen or slushy beverages in coffeehouses were up 24% over the previous year.1 And with a higher price point than juice or drip coffee, it seems that frozen blended beverages are a trend that is here to stay.

Much of the growth can be attributed to consumers’ growing demand for variety in beverage options. Simply offering a choice between juice, soft drink, and drip coffee

just doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially in the afternoon and evening hours, as many consumers regard frozen beverages as a treat – an affordable indulgence or an

enlivening break in the day.

 

Frozen blended beverages have the advantage of addressing multiple consumer need-states. Aside from being seen as a treat or a break in the day, consumers are regularly reaching for beverages like a blended café latte or a frozen raspberry smoothie as a meal replacement. More satisfying than a bottle of juice or a cup of drip coffee, yet much more convenient than a meal, these icy beverages appeal to consumers on the go. At the same time, some consumers perceive these frozen beverages to be a more health conscious alternative to a sugar-laden soft drink.

Today, consumers are demanding quality in their beverage purchases, and that applies to frozen blended beverages too. The rise of coffeehouse culture in North America has trained consumers to expect quality and freshness in specialty coffee beverages and they’ll expect that in their frozen blended coffee beverages, too.

And the same goes for frozen fruit smoothies. Freshness is essential and syrups alone won’t do the trick –consumers will expect the refreshing, natural taste that comes from real fruit purees and real fruit juices in a variety of exotic flavours like mango and raspberry.

 

Another popular consumer trend is customization. Consumers want the ability

to tailor their beverages to suit their own unique taste palate, so it’s important to select a blended beverage product that allows for this. Dairy added to a fruit smoothie will create a creamier, more indulgent beverage. Or, for something truly out of the ordinary, syrups or liqueurs can be added to create a more adventurous tasty treat.

Adding these sought-after frozen blended beverages to the menu is easy to do. Coffee concentrate or fruit puree and juice is combined with ice in a blender or a granita machine and blended until smooth.

Summertime is a great season to introduce refreshing, frozen blended beverages to your customers, but the broad audience appeal of these icy drinks guarantees that they will be a popular addition to the menu year-round.

 

1 Source: NPD Crest Year Ending Dec 2005

With contributions from Starbucks Coffee Canada