‘Social media has changed the way we drink!’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Beetroot lattes are bursting onto Instagram thanks to their bright colour. Pic:getty/mariiaplo
Beetroot lattes are bursting onto Instagram thanks to their bright colour. Pic:getty/mariiaplo

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Beetroot, matcha, turmeric and charcoal are helping beverages burst into colour – all the more important as bright and beautiful photos of what we eat and drink continue to gain traction on social media channels. So how is social media shaping beverage trends?

Kerry Foodservice – a division of Kerry which works with customers in the foodservice sector on insights and product development – recently commissioned Initiative to research the evolution of beverage trends globally. It says that by looking into beverages on the menus it can help identify broader trends for the future.

“Social media has changed the way we eat and drink with consumers expecting every dish and beverage to be #Instaworthy,” ​the company says. “Social sharing is now impacting the progression of beverage trends through menus, and these insights can help the industry identify future beverage trends.

“Not only is the beverage market highly competitive but consumers are increasingly educated, interested and adventurous which has driven a need for operators to constantly innovate and create stand-out products.”

Coffee is cool

Research from Mintel suggests that 30% of coffee consumers are now looking for chilled coffee drinks as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks.

Online searches for ‘Espresso Tonic’ (a chilled drink made with tonic water, juniper berries, ginger, and an espresso shot) have been steadily growing over recent years and nearly 9,000 social posts have been shared showing the growth in popularity of the beverage, at a time when a significant number of consumers are searching for an alternative to soft drinks.


Health halos and colourful creations

Many consumers are looking to cut back on caffeine (25% of consumers are interested in caffeine-free alternatives). This has lead to the emergence of coffee alternatives such as beetroot latte, matcha latte and turmeric latte, Kerry Foodservice observes. 

In addition, these ingredients have a considerable health halo: important given that 33% of UK coffee consumers are interested in purchasing hot drinks with health-boosting benefits and natural ingredients.

An analysis of online keywords shows Matcha Latte has seen significant and sustained growth since originating in Singapore with a steady increase in searches for beetroot latte, turmeric latte and charcoal latte - all of which originated in Australia.

And these beverages bring vibrant colour to social media posts:  #colourfullattes such as beetroot, matcha, turmeric and charcoal have seen over 200,000 Instagram posts worldwide in the last 12 months, and this has grown by 24% in the last 6 months.


Consumers continue to aspire for healthier lifestyles: leading to a rise in natural ingredients and plant-based diets (veganism quadrupled between 2012 and 2017).

Research suggests 29% of UK adults display concerns for the high levels of sugar in bottled ready-to-drink cold teas, opening the door for botanical beverages that can provide a healthier alternative such drinks, while also delivering nutrients and functional benefits of plant-based ingredients.  Analysis of Google Trends, however, shows that while interest in botanical beverages is growing it is slower than other beverage trends.

Other Instagram hits


While health and wellness is a key concern for today’s consumers, sweet indulgent beverages are still shining thanks to their Instagram appeal​, ​according to Imbibe. ‘Freakshakes’ – flavored milkshakes in mason jars piled up with sweets and other treats – are essentially ready-made Instagram posts.

The #freakshake hashtag on Instagram returns some 140,000 posts – and that’s before taking #freakshakelove and other related tags into account.

In general, beverages are known to have a high appeal on social media channels. Drinks dominated the top ten list of brands consumers are talking about the most via social media, according to NetBase Social Media Industry Report​ 2016. Budweiser, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Mountain Dew all made the top 10. 

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