Winning the game in Alcoholic Beverage trends
1-2-Taste’s Jasper Schouten speaks with ingredients suppliers about market trends, product innovation, best practices, supplier challenges, and more.
Alcoholic beverages are a festive product: from a celebratory glass of champagne to this year’s trendy holiday cocktail in the sun. But consumers are always looking for the ‘latest’ creation that matches their lifestyle. In our recent podcast, Lisanne van der Kooi of Food Scientist for Hire, Volker Zurowietz of Sweethouse, Manuel Peña Roig of Delsa, Bas de Kroon of Vanille BV and Michel Goldbach of Dutch Essentials shared with me their insider insight into how to win the game in alcoholic beverage trends.
Humans have been making alcohol for at least 9000 years, since they discovered that mashed sugars and starches, left to ferment, magically transformed into a potent concoction. But there’s a lot of room to manoeuvre to make this millennia-old product fresh and exciting. For example, for customers who want to lower their alcohol consumption, you can reduce the proof of familiar favourites or give non-alcoholic drinks a kick of ‘boozy’ yet zero-proof flavour. But there are also completely new approaches: for example, combining tea leaves and hops in a naturally alcohol-free brew that delivers a unique taste experience.
Creating a new product that stands out, then bringing it to market successfully, poses unique challenges for smaller and medium-sized producers as they try to remain competitive with the big players. You may have your finger on the pulse of today’s trends, but perhaps lack the scientific background to turn your expertise into the latest innovation. Or you need to find solutions for sourcing smaller amounts of ingredients or optimising your stock strategy.
The ingredient suppliers at 1-2-Taste have you covered. In our podcast, I sat down with five of them to discuss the product development journey. Here’s a small sip of their expert insights:
Developing the concept
Trends create both opportunities and challenges for producers: you have to rapidly adapt and expand your portfolio. As well as new flavours and low-alcohol options, different formats also offer interesting potential: cocktails in a can or powders and syrups consumers can add to their own alcohol at home, are just a few.
Creating a winning prototype
A successful product needs a balanced flavour in terms of sweetness, acidity, etc. But the ‘right’ balance isn’t the same for everyone: are you creating a beverage for younger women or older men, etc? Always keep your target group in mind.
Going to market
Alcoholic beverages hit their sales peak at the end of the year. That pushes back development, production, launch preparation, etc. So you may well find yourself starting a new product at the beginning of the year that won’t go to market till the end of the year. Be prepared.
Getting the best supplier contracts
Price and quality always have to be balanced, but in the end, quality (including of ingredients) is what differentiates your end product. Pricing transparency is key to helping you get the right quality at the right price.
Ensuring a robust supply chain
While just-in-time inventory management used to be the gold standard, the recent supply chain crises have made companies aware of its risks. Today, you have to plan ahead, and perhaps maintain more stock. It may be better to have more capital investment than to keep your customers waiting for their orders.
1-2-Taste can help you overcome your supply challenges, with a wide portfolio of ingredients; transparent, competitive pricing; an interface that makes it easy to find suppliers and order; minimal order quantities; and technical product development support.
Innovation doesn’t stop: people are looking for new things, different products. And this will continue in the future, which is very good for us.
– Lisanne van der Kooi, Food Scientist for Hire
Develop the product to the target group. When a project starts, the target group must be well described, so the formulator can already focus on potential flavours.
– Volker Zurowietz, Sweethouse
When it comes to the supply chain, things you don’t consider very important will immediately become so once you can’t get them.
– Michel Goldbach, Dutch Essentials
If we keep more stock, then our clients don’t have to.
– Manuel Peña Roig, Delsa
Costs are always a factor, but our philosophy is: first go for quality and after that look at pricing.
– Bas de Kroon, Vanille BV
1-2-Taste Talks Food Ingredients Podcast Series
Winning your game on alcoholic beverages
Welcome to the 1-2-Taste Talks Food Ingredients podcast, where we delve into the process of introducing an alcoholic beverage to the market. Our episode features five food experts who will provide insights on developing a prototype, achieving prototype status, managing procurement, and overseeing the supply chain. Come join us on this exhilarating journey through the world of alcoholic beverages, and gain valuable knowledge about this ever-changing industry.