August 11/Chicago/Mintel International -- Consumers are turning more toward low-calorie or no-calorie drinks, such as vitamin-enhanced waters, according to the The Food Channel's “Top 10 Beverage Trends for 2011.” The Food Channel teamed up with CultureWaves and research firm Mintel International to present the results.

The entire top 10 trend list includes:

1. "D.I.Y. Flavor -- Many of us are taking flavor matters into our own hands.

2. Parental Discretion Advised -- There is lots of buzz around beverages and kids.

3. Iced Coffee Is Scalding Hot -- Consumption of this cold caffeinated beverage has heated up.

4. For Medicinal Purposes Only -- There is certainly no shortage of ways to "drink to your health."

5. Sipping Seasonally and Simply -- In much the same way consumers are eating local and choosing foods when they are in season, consumers are making a more conscious effort to drink that way, too.

6. Fast Food Beyond the Fizz -- There are changes happening here, too, with specialty drinks getting as much play as burgers and fries.

7. Craft Beers: The Buzz Is Back -- While overall beer sales are flat these days, sales of craft brews are seeing double-digit increases.

8. Bourbon Booming -- The retro revival of the classic cocktail has hip, young consumers bellying up to the bar for whiskey.

9. Show Biz -- While the food generally takes center stage in restaurant exhibitionism, beverages are being offered more starring roles.

10. Drinking Ourselves Thin -- Consumers want to enjoy our drinks without drinking in the extra calories."


Kay Logsdon, vice president and editor-in-chief of The Food Channel, said the list confirmed what the network has seen in the marketplace. "It indicated we're drinking more water these days, although we like to dress it up a little. And, it told us that coupons have little or no influence on whether we purchase a beverage at a fast-food restaurant," Logsdon said.


From the August 15, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.