Consumers purchase non-alcohol beverages away from home frequently, at an average rate of three and a half times a week, according to Technomic's newly released 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report. As with the case of foodservice in general, younger consumers drive away-from-home beverage orders, and tend to be more discerning about their beverages.

"The menu or product mix is increasingly important for beverages. While older consumers tend to stick to familiar favorites like hot coffee and regular soda, younger consumers are seeking more specialty, handcrafted beverages and they're willing to pay more for them," says Kelly Weikel, Director of Consumer Insights at Technomic Inc. "Offering LTO specialty beverages, like ginger chai tea lattes or handcrafted wildberry hibiscus iced tea, alongside familiar favorites can help grow sales and broaden appeal across generations."

Key takeaways and opportunities from the report include:

• Roughly a third of Generation Zers (33%) and Millennials (32%) say that pairing suggestions for specific dishes and non-alcohol beverage would encourage them to try these items.

• A quarter of consumers (26%) dislike added sweeteners in their beverages

• Consumers aged 35 and older are particularly likely to order beverages out of habit at restaurants, while younger consumers are especially likely to order beverages due to a specific craving

Compiling findings from more than 1,500 consumers, as well as Technomic's MenuMonitor and Digital Resource Library, the comprehensive 2016 Beverage Consumer Trend Report serves as a guide for foodservice operators and suppliers to understand consumer behavior for beverages and to identify key areas of opportunity.