Before us lies another year, amid an unarguably strange time in human history. Consumer behavior trends have shifted in all areas and industries, and food service is no exception. Our Annual Outlook 2022 Pourcast summarizes the major trends you can expect to impact LTO and buying behavior in this new year.

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Image of barista handing customer a latte


Shift in Consumption Patterns

The pandemic fueled a rapid change in consumer purchase and consumption behaviors. The early-morning functional coffee occasion happens increasingly at home, pushing out-of-home occasions to mid-morning. This shift of just a few hours broadens the breadth of drinks consumers choose, extending beyond hot coffee and espresso beverages to cold forms of coffee and energy infusions.

Additionally, the afternoon snack daypart has evolved to become more beverage-centric, with the beverage functioning as the snack. Those mid-to-late afternoon beverages typically include functional elements (energy, hydration, satiety) in a fun package. Larger sizes, customizable caffeination and textural inclusions all differentiate and delight guests in this window.

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Image of Black Sugar Boba Milk Tea


Borrowed Comfort - Where Nostalgia and Culinary Tourism Meet

For the past couple of years, we’ve seen people quench their taste for adventure with internationally inspired cuisine. This trend was amplified by people’s inability to travel. Nostalgic flavors have also been center stage as people long for the “good old days”.

Today, we are seeing these two top trends combine into one where people are looking forward to find new means of comfort through exploration instead of looking back to feel good. People are longing for happiness and connection through exploring the comfort foods and flavors of other countries.

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Image of cheesecake flavored beverage


Over the Top - Beyond "Instagrammable"

With the rise of “do-it-yourself” home specialty drink makers, how do you create an appointment for people to leave their home and visit your café? By creating experiences your customers can’t create at home that add excitement to their day.

Utilize the barista expertise and professional equipment and products you have on hand to elevate the drinks available out of the home.

Lean into the OTT (over the top) trend with experiential beverages that are BEYOND just “Instagrammable”. This could include drinks with texture, layers of color, unique ingredients or techniques. 

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Image of flavored energy drink


Functional Energy Beyond Coffee

We’ve been seeing flavor infused energy drinks on the rise for the past couple of years. In fact, 33% of consumers purchased a made to order flavor infused energy drink in the last 3 months. A trend that started in the Pacific Northwest and New England areas has made its way across the U.S. Big chains have seen major success by adding “made-to-order” energy to their menus.

The heaviest users of this category are typically:

  • Between the age of 25-39
  • Married
  • Have young children at home
  • Either sex
  • Higher income
  • Working full time
  • Purchase habitually (41% of category users purchase once a day or more)
  • Spend a lot on the category (36% say they spend $50 or more per month on the MTO energy category)

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Attest Survey of 750 US Consumers, ages 18-54, August 2021


Image of floral flavored beverages


Everything’s Blooming Up

Florals continue to blossom as new fragrant flavors are introduced – such as Elderflower. A popular way to incorporate flower flavors in your menu is by pairing them with other familiar flavors. Flavors that are low in acidity and high in fragrance usually do well with anything floral. This creates a delicate, balanced and complementary flavor profile that brings complexity and sophistication to your beverages.

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For 97 years, Torani has been a community-driven business. Torani's Foodservice Family Facebook Group is a space for café operators to find resources, community, and inspiration as you navigate the foodservice industry. Come and join us today!