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It’s a new year and as we all continue to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of hospitality there are a few things we can expect to see gracing menus in the coming months.

Scents & Smells

One of the most common symptoms of COVID-19 has been a loss of taste and smell and it’s made us all appreciate the flavours and aromas of a great cup of coffee or a freshly baked muffin even more.

So, while the visual appeal of a drink still holds weight customers are going to be hoping for a fully sensory experience – they’re looking for the fresh vibrant bursts of citrus in a summer drink or the deep chocolate notes in their favourite mocha.

No & Low Alcohol

The zero % trend is far from over, in fact, now more than ever customers are on the lookout for no or low alcohol alternatives to their favourite drinks. Since the boom of “drysolation” over lockdown the sober-curious mindset has shown no signs of going away anytime soon.

But the NoLow trend is about more than a dressed-up glass of fruit juice, customers want the same level of innovation and wow that we see grace the pages of cocktail menus – minus the booze. So consider investing some time into your mocktail menu to create drinks that provide the taste and sophistication of cocktails without the buzz.

Frozen Favourites

When we look ahead to the temperatures beginning to rise and we pack away our winter coats in favour of flip flops and shorts we’re expecting to see big things this summer. From the festivals to packed beer gardens people are going to want to be out and about, living life and soaking up the sunshine and looking for drinks that give them that summer feeling.

Think sodas, granitas, frappés as well as iced coffees and teas, this summer is going to be chilled and bubbly. From a boozy Frosé by the pool to a fresh and vibrant Italian soda we’re already gearing up for menus packed with refreshing respites from the heat.

Functional Beverages

After the last few years, it is no surprise that functional drinks are still topping the trend charts. Customers are more aware than ever of how food and drink plays into our overall well being and are often on the look out for something that not only tastes great but does some good too.

Think sodas packed with probiotics and fizzy tonics with added prebiotics, botanicals and fruity flavours and unconventional ingredients.

In fact, we’re seeing yet another resurgence of the kombucha trend. This fermented drink is bubbly and packed with probiotics and antioxidants making it a fantastic fizzy drink alternative – we’re even starting to see boozy ‘buch making an appearance for a little detox-retox.

Nostalgia’s Not Going Anywhere

We talked about it in 2021 and 2022 is no different. Customers are looking for a trip down memory lane. Childhood favourites are being reimagined in cafes, bars and restaurants across the globe – from cocktails to mac ‘n’ cheese ice cream.

There’s even a video of a school-dinner-style traybake that has received more than 100,000 views on TikTok and on Waitrose’s website, searches of knickerbocker glory were up 171%.

But it’s not just the food and beverage that’s playing into this trend, we’re also seeing a growth in nostalgic experiences. Think adults only soft play evenings, summer camps for grown up and nostalgic movie and music nights. There is no shortage of places and events popping up to bring the warm fuzzies of child-like fun with a grown-up twist.

Alternative Milks

Almond, oat, cashew, rice, soy, the list of alternative milk doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter in 2022 – actually, it’s quite the opposite. We struggle now to find cafes who do not provide at least one alternative to dairy milk and it has become part of the public expectation that cafes and restaurants are able to offer non-dairy milk.

At the end of 2021 DUG released their Potato milk and it has made waves throughout the industry. Buyers are excited by its sustainable credentials as well as its creamy flavour which has us wondering, could potatoes be the next big thing behind the coffee bar?

After all, alternative-milks have continued to penetrate the diary market and with the increasing popularity of vegan or vegetarianism as well as flexitarianism there is good reason to believe that plant-based milk will continue to grow in popularity.

Flavour Trends

Spring and summer this year we’re expecting to see a boom in botanicals and citrus with flavours like rose and hibiscus taking centre stage along with the likes of yuzu, lemon and orange.

Think rose lemonade, hibiscus and lemon iced tea, yuzu gin fizz and Sicilian lemon granitas.

By winter we’re expecting to see a real shift towards functional flavours with classic cosy favourites like cinnamon and turmeric hitting the big time.

Both known for reducing inflammation and helping to support the immune system these spices are perfect for warming your customers up from the inside out.

Try bringing some international favourites to your autumn menu with Horchata – a cold rice milk based drink from Mexico with cinnamon and almond notes or a warming honey and ginger turmeric latte to keep the winter colds at bay.

For more recipe ideas check out our YouTube channel or the Recipe Bank on our Sweetbird website.