Ideal Beverages for Cafes

Without food & beverages our life couldn’t be conceived. Beverage is any liquid which is intended for human consumption. Some common types of beverages include water, tea, coffee, butter milk, juices, and beer among others. Water, tea and beer are the three most popular beverages of the world.

In human civilisation the usage of beverage has not only been to quench thirst but also for refreshment, health, satiety, energy boosting, immunity boosting, socialisation and even intoxication. Drinking has always been a part of the socialising throughout the centuries. As mankind evolved, newer techniques were discovered to create new beverages that were native to the local areas.

Today mega multinational corporations have been built around beverages, whether it is in the form of plain potable drinking water (which is the world’s most consumed beverage), carbonated beverages, fruit-based beverages, tea and coffee and its various avatars, dairy-based beverages and alcohol-based beverages. Here we would focus on some of the non-alcoholic beverages which are being used or can be used in bakery cafes to facilitate lucrative revenues.

The global beverages industry is estimated to be to the tune of 1.6 trillion USD with a steady growth rate of 2-3 percent per annum, with almost 60 percent coming from the non-alcoholic category. Major drivers for growth are the growing urbanisation, growth in disposable incomes and the growth in population, particularly in the Asian and African continents.

As health consciousness has gained momentum in the urban Indian society, bakery cafes can earn good profits by presenting healthy bakery products complemented by healthy beverages, Health and wellness awareness is a trend which has significantly impacted the food and beverage industry during the recent years. Not only does the increased focus on health and wellness induces consumers to make replacement choices (replacing ‘bad-for-you’ beverages with ‘good-for-you/healthy’ choices), but it also creates new purchasing occasions through functional beverages.  Consumers are increasingly looking at beverages to play new roles in their diets and health routines.

Enriched Water

The cool and hot beverage market of India is reflected by the evolution in our water market. Flavoured and fortified water are now the in thing in the India’s beverages market.

Starting from plain drinking water presented in convenient disposable PET bottles to sachets, India is now witnessing vitamin fortified water. During the recent past, PepsiCo entered vitamin fortified water segment in India with Aquafina Vitamin Splash.

Then there is O’cean fruit water, which is a wonderful blend of water, fruit juice, glucose, electrolytes and vitamins. Some years back, Beltek Canadian Water Limited, a bulk water company, did introduce the brand WILD vitamin water in India, which is vitamin-enriched water. These are only some of the examples of healthy water players floating in the happening beverages market of the country. In addition, we also have the ‘Natural’ water sourced from the springs with added minerals. A classic example in this category is the brand named Himalayan.

Tea-Coffee Culture

Both tea and coffee do have significant role in facilitating the bakery business.

Tea is a ubiquitous drink in India. There is no denying the fact that despite the onslaught of coffee café culture across urban India during the recent years, tea is still the most popular beverage of India, after water. Almost 85 percent of Indian households consume this healthy, aromatic and perennially popular beverage. In India, often the day begins with tea; the drink is also an integral part of our business discussions and social parleys.

One of the reasons for the enduring popularity of teas in India could be that most of the teas are highly affordable, which is a major marketing factor for a by and large price-sensitive economy like that of India.

Tea is not only the most popular beverage in India after water but its production in India has been showing steady increase over the years. India recorded total tea production of 1233.14 million kg during the financial year 2015-16. As compared to 2014-15 figures, the total tea production in the country registered an increase of 35.96 million kg during 2015-16.

According to the statistics of Tea Board India, we can find that the tea production in India increased from 1095 million kg in 2011-12 to 1233.14 million kg in 2015-16.  Today India is the world’s second largest producer and second largest consumer of tea.

According to Tea Board India, during 2016-17, the production of tea in India was 1250.49 million kg, which is the highest production of tea during a fiscal, in the Indian tea industry. 

From black tea leaves in pouches / cartons, to branded teas to masala tea to instant tea to green tea, India’s tea tastes are rich and diversified. The tea retail business in India can get a further fillip through the mushrooming of tea lounges or tea cafes across the country. The sleek tea lounges or tea cafes are also contributing towards the trend of making tea a lifestyle drink in India. As far as tea lounges and cha bars go, Chaayos, Cha Bar and Tea Trails are some of the important players in this direction. Cha Bar can be credited with ushering the concept of tea lounge or tea bar in India.

Coffee cafe market in India also shows great promise and potential. According to TechSci Research report titled India Coffee Shops / Cafés Market Forecast, Consumer Survey and Opportunities, 2021, coffee shops / cafés market in India was projected to grow at a CAGR of over 11 percent during 2016-2021, on account of the growing coffee culture among young population, increasing urbanisation, rising disposable income levels and changing eating and drinking preferences of consumers. Changing work patterns of business executives is also driving demand for such coffee shops / cafés, as these outlets offer services such as free Wi-Fi, entertainment zones, etc., the report noted. The report was published in January 2016.

Both tea and coffee drinking in urban India is getting or rather already got a trendy character. We have graduated from teas at familiar roadside kiosks in kulhads to sleek tea lounges and cha bars, and from filter coffees at homes to coffee houses infused with intellectual atmosphere to cosy coffee cafes infused with the ambience of casual chatter of the young and the young at heart. At the same time, we are now witnessing filter coffee being made available at a growing number of places along with smart mixes which deliver the taste of heaven (oops, I mean filter coffee). 

 Fruity and Dairy

Dairy-based beverages segment in India is expected to see positive traction with a huge thrust on the investments happening from both the cooperatives as well as the private players in the industry. India should actually take the lead and establish itself as the numero uno in this category. Health & nutrition is expected to drive the growth in this category, in India.

Fruit juices business in India is also a very much happening market. Gone are the days of plain orange and apple juices. Many among today’s generation demand a heady cocktail of tastes and flavours. They are also looking for experimentation and innovation in their beverage choices. In this market, uncommon juice options like wood apple juice, plum juice, black currant juice, etc. if packaged and marketed intelligently, can bring impressive business. There is a lot of potential to introduce refreshing dimensions in the fruit juices business in India.

Also keeping the Instagram generation in mind, beverage blends / innovative mocktails should see rapid explosive growth among the breed of new experience demanding consumers.

Overall, the world of beverages is much more diversified in post-modern India, than it was ever before. There are a plethora of consumer choices on offer. Beverages catering to a host of functional benefits are now a reality in India. The coffee cafe and bakery cafe chains and even stand-alone coffee cafe and bakery cafe outlets in India can present these diversified beverage choices along with low calorie but tasty bakery products to induce the new and growing breed of health conscious consumers. Many players are already  undertaking such endeavours.

The writer is the former MD of McCain India and has worked 25 years in the food & beverage industry in various roles. Contact him at: 

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