Nutrition-conscious consumers are here to stay. This market shift is being driven by the youngest generations—millennials and Generation Z. Not only are these demographic groups more inclined to choose better-for-you options, but they are also more willing to pay a premium price for nutritious alternatives.
This shift is influenced partly by the internet age, in which you can easily and quickly research and find resources. Millennials and Gen Y’ers are widely recognized as digital natives, logged in 24/7 and more informed and conscious about their buying decisions—especially when it comes to food. And it’s not just about calories, sugar and carbohydrates; they’re concerned about the origins of their food too.
Not only do they want a transparent, better-for-you option, but convenience is a big factor too. This new mindset is driving demand for nutritious, on-the-go food and beverage choices. Smoothie King franchisees are benefitting from a menu of nutritious smoothies that are blended quickly and specifically for each guest. Options like high-protein, meal replacement smoothies are piquing the interest of these nutrition-focused generations and helping to drive guest visits for smoothie bar owners.
The Rise in Vegetarians and Vegans
Once a group on the cultural fringe, more and more people are turning towards vegetarianism and veganism. About six percent of American consumers identify as vegans, which is a 600 percent increase from just three years ago, driving demand for more plant-based options.
Some choose this lifestyle change due to allergies, fitness goals or for altruistic reasons. These passionate consumers have caused an increase in vegan restaurants and vegetarian and gluten-free options on menus. Dietary restrictions and preferences are motivating restaurants to increase food transparency by listing ingredients so consumers can choose foods that align with their lifestyle choices.
Smoothie King’s Cleaner Blending Initiative is all about enabling guests to make smarter, more informed choices, understanding the ingredients that go into their smoothies. This program and others like it are paving the way for cleaner and more transparent options, particularly when they’re looking for convenient options as well. Brands that provide these options are seeking to benefit from the market shift.
How Smoothie Bar Owners Meet Demand
Smoothies appeal to a large group of consumers. Not only do the fully customizable flavors appeal to guests’ taste buds, but the on-the-go drink can meet the needs of everyone from fitness fanatics, to vegans and vegetarians and busy moms and kids. It’s rare that a food fits so well into guests’ daily routines.
A smoothie bar can work to capitalize on this and future nutrition trends. For example, through Cleaner Blending, Smoothie King is working to eliminate added sugar from all of its purpose blends—that’s over 50 smoothies—and is committed to using more whole, non-GMO fruits and veggies. These simple changes are appealing to more consumers and will be implemented by the end of 2018.
This demand isn’t a mere trend, but rather appears to be a market shift with staying power. Brands that tap into this demand are working to grow and establish themselves as market leaders.