When we think of summer food and drinks, we often conjure up images of lavish ice-cream sundaes and rosé on rooftop bars. This year, a perhaps surprising key trend has emerged among both manufacturers and consumers – health. 

Though there’s undeniably still a place for more indulgent treats, many consumers are choosing to consume these less frequently and as a result, are turning to health-conscious alternatives to enjoy without feeling like they’re missing out on all the summer fun. 

Adult Soft Drinks

With the proportion of 16-24-year olds abstaining from alcohol increasing by 40% between 2005 and 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics, it’s no wonder that many of these young consumers are looking for fun, interesting alternatives to alcoholic beverages. 

In this shift amongst young consumers and the health, fitness and lifestyle goals many of us now pursue, the alcohol-free alternatives and craft soft drinks markets are burgeoning and becoming major sectors for growth. 

Natural colours and flavours, in particular, are playing a role as brands work to develop exciting new drinks to capture the attention of consumers in this extremely crowded marketplace. Many food and beverage manufacturers are looking to flavoured sparkling waters as a health-conscious, low-sugar option with tart, summery flavours such as lemon and peach. 

When it comes to colour, it’s important for brands to retain their focus on adult soft drinks as a natural, health-conscious alternative and avoid turning consumers off with artificial additives. Luckily, ranges such as Chr. Hansen’s highly varied natural colour portfolio, distributed by Cornelius in the UK and suitable for both food and drink products, mean brands can retain their natural credentials and focus on health while achieving the bright colours that capture the collective consumer imagination.  

Utilising natural colours, like Chr. Hansen’s Colouring Foodstuff range, also allows manufacturers to tap into the increasing consumer demand for ‘clean labels’ – shorter and more recognisable ingredients lists highlighting products’ natural origins. 

Veganism & Plant-Based Proteins

Summer barbecues are no longer just for meat-eaters. With veganism on the rise, manufacturers have significantly increased their production of specialty vegan products such as pulled jackfruit, black bean chipotle and revolutionary meat-like plant-protein burgers. Plant-based proteins are also popping up across supermarket snack aisles, replacing many meat protein-based snacks with pulses and seeds like quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds and lentils. 

As fitness-focused consumers often increase their activity during the summer months, there has also been a rise in demand for vegan friendly protein shakes such as MyProtein’s Vegan Blend protein powder created with all-natural brown rice protein and hemp protein.  

At Cornelius, we can provide a range of plant-based proteins, such as rice protein, which deliver an array of health benefits.

Low-Calorie Ice Creams

Consumers still want to enjoy frozen treats during the hotter months, even though they’re not willing to splurge calories on more indulgent creations. This had led to a surge of low-calorie, high-protein options from brands such as Breyers and USA import Halo Top flying off supermarket shelves and outselling many traditional options. 

Though this new breed of tubs may be lower in calories, consumers still expect exciting flavours and a great taste – think high-quality, intense vanillas, freezer-cabinet staples like cookies and cream and new creations like cinnamon swirl.  

Cornelius principal, Nielsen Massey Vanillas, offers a wide range of flavourings for ice cream including high-end traditionally produced vanillas, lemon, rose, orange blossom and peppermint. 

For more information on the wide range of ingredients, flavours and additives Cornelius has to offer, please visit www.cornelius.co.uk.