WHO’S GOING TO BE EATING YOUR LUNCH? Top 4 innovations from Lunch!

By: Louise Bredholt

We’re always scouting around for trends that are on the rise. So our expert FMCG consultant, Alicia Dowsett headed over to lunch! – a trade show for the UK food-to-go sector. Alicia was on a mission to scope out the most exciting trends in the food-to-go and coffee shop industry. Health remains a key and recurring theme – but how are brands innovating on that theme in order to get cut-through? Also high on the agenda was new look retail technology set to shake up the vending machine market.

So, what were Alicia’s top four takeaways from lunch! ?

RISING FAST AND RIDING THE SUGAR TAX WAVE: PLANT-BASED ENERGY DRINKS

The first spot was Tenzing. Tenzing is a 100% plant-based energy drink made from natural ingredients like Himalayan rock salt, Indian Gooseberries and Guarana. Tenzing’s founder and CEO is former Red Bull Marketing Director Huib Van Bockel, who left the latter to bring a healthier alternative to the energy drink market. Van Bockel is keen to shake off the unhealthy image of energy drinks. Tenzing contains no additives and less than half the sugar of its competitors. But still achieves the same affect – with a natural energy boost. Van Bockel admits it’s been a challenge without the same resources and healthy marketing budget as in his previous role. But the recent introduction of the sugar tax is strongly helping to build a case for the plant-based pick-me-up. And Tenzing is definitely riding the sugar tax wave.

Tenzing natural energy drink innovation ad

GOING MAINSTREAM: DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH WITH FERMENTED TEA

The once-obscure drink only found in health stores and hipster cafes, Kombucha has bubbled its way mainstream – and now is even on offer in pubs as an alternative to booze. The kombucha hype was also prevalent at lunch! The specialty drink made from fermented, sweetened green or black tea, boasts a range of health benefits. Key benefits include being good for digestion and inflammation, but also has lots of different variants in terms of the fermentation process, sugar-level and temperature (ambient vs. cold). And with soda giants, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo having made investments into the fermented tea market, kombucha’s probiotic presence will surely only continue to grow.

Kombucha drink innovation

DIVERSIFYING INGREDIENTS TO SPRING WATER INNOVATION

From energy waters to waters made from rosemary, trees and fruit, water innovation was all the rage at lunch! Virtue Energy water exhibited their naturally sugar and calorie free sparkling energy water, which contains the equivalent of one cup of coffee in natural caffeine. Up next, was No1 rosemary water. The brand was inspired by the small coastal village of Acciaroli in Italy where 1 in 10 people live to be 100 years old with no illness or disease. Their secret? A regular consumption of rosemary. The premium rosemary water contains all sorts of anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. Other water innovations included waters made from maple trees, birch trees and fruits including melon and coconut – each claiming their own health benefits.

Water drink innovations

ONE TO WATCH: TOUCH SCREEN VENDING

Vending machines used to be a convenient way to grab a pack of crisps or can of Coke. Now, they’ve been given a much-needed upgrade – with touch screen vending. Mother were exhibiting their touch screen vending machines, which allows users to filter products by dietary requirements, and see nutritional info for products. The Coca-Cola company has also recently launched a new vending machine concept in China. Using facial recognition technology and voice interaction, the machine makes purchasing and recycling of Coca-Cola drinks smart, fun and efficient. And in exchange for recycling, consumers receive credits for beverages on their smartphones. With the continuing squeeze on bricks and mortar retail – ever reducing footfall as well as the resulting store closures, unattended retail offers a big opportunity for instant retail gratification. So, vending machine companies that can deliver a slick, fast, informative and enjoyable user experience will win: augmenting or replacing physical stores.

Mother touch screen vending machine innovation