Fewer calories, less alcohol and more taste are the basic ingredients from which today's successful drinks are made. Inspired by the Hard Seltzer category, Hard Juices or Lemonades and Hard Ice Teas fit the concept perfectly as a follow-up trend. We show the reason why.
The United States is ahead in many areas – including hard seltzer, which has become an integral part of the beverage shelves there. More than 60 Hard Seltzer brands have already established themselves in the USA as specialists for the aromatic “flavored water and a little alcohol”, as Hard Seltzer could be established. In Europe, we are only at the beginning of development, but due to the overarching trend towards a conscious lifestyle, it is only a matter of time before the hard seltzer cans in the most diverse variants are also part of the standard range on our shelves.
Hard Lemonade: Citrus flavours most popular
A question of time – and of marketing. Because according to Mintel, a trend towards simple tastes can be observed when it comes to alcohol-based RTD drinks in Europe. Lime dominates with 25 percent and lemon with 14 percent. Then come the flavors of raspberry with eleven percent, black cherry with ten percent, mango with eight percent, grapefruit with seven percent and berries with four percent. At the bottom of the list are cherries with four percent, passion fruit with four percent and blueberries with three percent.
The combination of more taste and less alcohol meets the current trend - and above all the market, and primarily among young consumers. According to Mintel, 47 per cent of young adults aged 18-24 in the UK say they drink less alcohol. Hard Lemonade is the answer to the question of how fruity taste can best be combined with little alcohol.
Source: "A year of innovation in Wine & Spirits, 2022", Michael Keczorowski, Mintel March 2022
What is the best way to get Hard Seltzer and Hard Lemonade onto the European market?
The challenge with the launches of Hard Seltzer and Hard Lemonade would be to stand out from other products while still having a clear taste. Successful US hard seltzer brands manage to promise naturalness on the one hand and to unite a fine mixture of stimulating taste and sweetness on the other. European consumers would often criticize that alcoholic RTD drinks taste artificial as they usually also contain artificial ingredients. So the key to success here is to create good taste with natural flavours. For example, 26 percent of German consumers would pay more for alcoholic RTD drinks that only score with natural ingredients.
Source: “How should hard seltzer brands approach Europe? Martin Pasco, Mintel April 2021
Seltzer brands are starting to increasingly focus on “real”, natural ingredients when it comes to Hard Seltzer and Hard Lemonade. Fruit flavours from regional or local production are particularly popular. Sustainability and environmental friendliness in the packaging not only stand for "Better for you", but also for "Better for the planet".
Alcohol + Tea = Hard Ice Tea!
In the course of the hard seltzer trend, hard ice tea has also established itself alongside hard lemonade: The combination of ice tea and light alcohol is not new, but it is a rapidly growing segment that many hard seltzer producers have already jumped on to. According to the IWSR, consumption of hard ice tea increased by 26 percent in 2020 and will even double by 2024.
Hard Ice Tea has an alcohol content of 5.0% vol. and is available from AUSTRIA JUICE in different flavours such as lemon, peach or raspberry, with or without carbon dioxide.
The trend towards a conscious lifestyle at all levels steadily ongoing and this also means that people are drinking less alcohol. Nevertheless, a good taste and new taste experiences are important. Young consumers in particular are in demand for innovative products with low or no alcohol. After Hard Seltzer, Hard Juices (Lemonade) and Hard Ice Tea also have great future potential here in Europe. A recipe for success here is to rely on ingredients that are as natural as possible and on simple flavours.