In July 2019 our Operations and Systems Director, Elliott Sparks, published a 3 part series on innovation in the beverage industry. We are republishing the series as a part of our catalogue on Medium. Here is part 3 of that series.
In the third installment of ‘Innovation in the Beverage Industry’ I’m taking a look at drinks that are twisting consumer expectation, combining unusual flavours and disrupting beverage standards.
So, without further ado, here are three of my favourite disruptive beverages currently on market:
Little Fluffy Head Cheese Tea
Yes, you read that right, cheese tea. It may sound strange at first but these foamy cheese topped teas are taking the US by storm. Originally a trend conceived in Asia (most notably Japan, China and Malaysia), the drink takes traditional cold tea, ranging from milky/ black teas to herbal and matcha, and tops them with a layer of whipped cream cheese.
Jenny Zheng is the founder of Little Fluffy Head, in Downtown LA. Although not the only cheese tea café in the US it’s certainly the most popular. Jenny discovered cheese tea on a trip to China and, impressed with how surprisingly tasty the beverage was, returned to the US to begin developing a range of experimental flavours. Some of which include Fluffy Cheesecake Cream, Matcha Crème Brûlée, Latte topped with Cheddar, and White Chocolate Tiramisu Topped with Crushed Oreo…when you put it like that, it doesn’t sound too bad.
The drinks flavour is described as sweet, with a savoury finish; similar in taste to the, now extremely popular, bubble tea that is deeply adored across the States.
The method of sipping is also apparently very important. With specially designed lids that circulate just the right amount of air for full flavour, whilst preventing the cheese topping from escaping the cup. Consumers are recommended to tip the cup at a 40–45-degree angle for the best flavour. Sounds pretty technical for a casual drink.
Black Sesame Dairy-Alternative
Just a few years ago alternative milk options (dairy-free) were limited and scarce, but now in part due to the rising trend of veganism and a growing interest in plant-based alternatives, consumers are spoilt for choice. Local supermarket chains and global brands alike have begun to release a range of products experimenting with a variety of ingredients, including almonds, coconuts, oats, cashews and now black sesame seeds.
Three Trees, known for its simple ingredient dairy-free beverages has released a five-ingredient black sesame nut and seed milk that avoids preservatives, artificial flavourings and sweeteners, only using dates to naturally sweeten the beverage.
Boasting a “bold dark and toasty flavour” the texture of this beverage achieves a thick and creamy consistency, without the need for additives (like thickeners or emulsifiers), making it perfect for smoothies and baked good in addition to general consumption. The only thing hindering this delicious-sounding beverage is the price tag, which is set at a tough-to-swallow $6.99 a bottle — ouch.
Blk Mineral-Infused Black Water
We know water when we see it right? It’s distinctively clear and lacks colour, right? Well, blk thinks otherwise. For a few years now blk has been defying expectations by selling black-coloured alkaline water, rich with organically complex trace minerals from the earth’s soil, packed full of essential Amino Acids and completely absent of calories, sugars and caffeine.
Why is blk’s water black? The beverage is formulated using nutrient-rich fulvic and humic minerals that are naturally dark in colour and when added to water they turn the water black without the need for dyes or colour additives. — Would probably make for an interesting ice cube right?
In addition to the base benefits boasted by blk’s unique drink formulation (including increased energy, muscle mass preservation and boosted bodily functions such as digestion) blk recently released a range of added functional benefit beverages to their product lineup. Consumers will now have the option to choose water that supports bodily strength, mental awareness, immune system resistance, increased blood flow to the brain for improved focus and even mood enhancement, using L-Theanine to stimulate the creation of dopamine and serotonin in the body.
These added benefits will also be delivered in some unconventional flavours including Peach Mango Basil, Spicy Black Cherry and Apple Grape Sage.
This is the third article in my series on Beverage Innovation, if you have any suggestions on trends you’d like me to investigate, leave your thoughts in the comments below.