Consumer Thirst for Smoothies and Shakes Gathers Pace

Operators could be missing out on huge profit opportunities from the sales of smoothies and shakes by not offering options made with fat free frozen yogurt, particularly as 72% of people prefer the thick texture it provides, says the latest independent research, commissioned by Coolicious*.

While the frequency of smoothies and shakes on menus as a snack, drink or energiser has grown considerably over recent years – smoothies and shakes are mentioned 39% and 83% more respectively on menus today versus five years ago** – demand is clearly on the rise with 87% of consumers wanting to see more smoothies on menus and 84% craving more milkshakes*.

The new research*, commissioned by Coolicious, a brand of Taste Trends Limited – Europe's leading specialist in frozen yogurt foodservice solutions – also revealed that over three quarters (76%) of consumers already drink smoothies on an occasional basis, with 30% of 18-24 year olds stating they do so each week. It’s a similar story when it comes to milkshakes with 77% of people consuming them at least on an occasional basis.

Offering a healthier option is also an important consideration – two thirds of consumers drink smoothies for health and nutritional benefits, while 39% think it is important for their smoothie to be fat free. When it comes to milkshakes, 62% of people would like to see a lower calorie option and 49% would be more likely to order one if it was fat free. This demonstrates that while the market is well-established, there is still considerable room for growth by meeting the consumer demand for options made with fat free frozen yogurt, particularly as frozen yogurt has been highlighted as an established trend in the recent Menu & Food Trends 2015 report by M&C Allegra.

Today's smoothie and milkshake drinkers are also becoming more discerning, creating a need for operators to provide a higher quality product. Two thirds (66%) of consumers expect their smoothies to be freshly blended to order while 58% want them to be made with real ingredients such as fruit and frozen yogurt. A further 39% expect their smoothie to be creamy and round in flavour.

Richard Drane, Managing Director of Taste Trends Limited, comments: “Smoothies and milkshakes are already extremely popular menu items but operators are missing out on even more sales by not offering options made with a fat free frozen yogurt base. Our Coolicious Fat Free Frozen Yogurt Base has been specially developed to create a deliciously smooth and thick texture, while also enhancing the taste of the added fruit and lightening its natural acidity. In shakes, it delivers the rich creaminess that consumers desire but without the fat – essential given that the research shows 64% of consumers would choose frozen yogurt in their milkshake instead of ice cream for a healthier alternative.”

A further way to attract customers and increase the frequency of smoothie and milkshake purchases is by ensuring they are available on menus throughout the day. Over a quarter of consumers would like to see more smoothies on the breakfast menu, while 24% call for more shakes to be offered as a dessert and a further 26% would like to see them offered as a snack. This highlights that not only are milkshakes and smoothies considered far more than just a beverage, but also that whatever time of the day, there is always an opportunity to boost profits.

Coolicious encourages caterers to meet consumers' increasingly high expectations by using its Fat Free Frozen Yogurt Smoothie Base, available in Just Vanilla, Simply Strawberry and Mango Moment flavours.

Richard continues: “When it comes to offering thick and creamy smoothies and milkshakes, it really is all about the base – it’s the foundation of a great tasting drink. Satisfying the increasing consumer thirst for blended, high quality smoothies is simple and profitable. Operators wanting to offer their customers something special can simply scoop Coolicious frozen yogurt from the tub and blend it with fruit, juice and other ingredients to create an end product with a smooth, creamy texture. Other naturally healthy ingredients such as vegetables can be added, and for really indulgent – yet lower fat – shakes, chocolate, malts and syrups work well. Over the years we’ve worked closely with caterers to develop this product, paying particular attention to their needs and ensuring it scoops softly, blends well to form a velvety texture and doesn’t melt too quickly. The range also includes a Non-Dairy Neutral Sorbet Smoothie Base, which enables caterers to easily create dairy-free options.”

Coolicious has created a useful infographic highlighting the opportunities for caterers at a glance – whether they are smoothie and shake bars, or whether they are restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafes or contract caterers – as well as a video featuring key insight findings and handy consumer feedback on drinks that have been created using the product. Please visit www.frozenyogurt.co.uk/smoothiebase to view these.

*Toluna/Coolicious June 2015 **Technomic Q2 2015

For more information, please call 0845 33 77 017 or visit www.frozenyogurt.co.uk/smoothiebase