delivery systems presents a big opportunity for producers. That’s because consumers are opting increasingly for sustainable and environmentally-friendly packaging, including aluminum and recyclable paper. Flow Water, an alkaline water with a pH of 8.1 containing electrolytes, is another unique brand. “Further, Flow has a low carbon footprint, using a 100% recyclable Tetra Pak paper carton made from 70% renewable resources and a sugarcane-derived plastic lid,” notes Packaged Facts in its report. CBD-infused water may make sense for some brands. Restaurants have shown a willingness to test the market with limitedtime and permanent CBD-infused food additions. Why not water? CBD claims many associated health benefits, not yet fullyproven, such as easing stress, pain, anxiety, and insomnia. These associations generate a health-halo effect and link CBD with wellness in consumers’ minds. Pushing the envelope, Lagunitas Brewing Company unveiled a sparkling water that has both THC and CBD in Hi-Fi Hops, which it calls an “IPA-inspired” sparkling water. According to Packaged Facts, this water is sold in California dispensaries and contains no alcohol or calories. But QSRs have local and state ordinances to consider, as well as federal regulations. The U.S. Farm Bill passed by Congress and signed by President Trump in December 2018 “includes a provision to legalize hemp nationally.” This would go a long way in furthering production of hemp-derived beverages. The FDA is currently in a comment period for review of regulations around the safety and regulation of hemp-derived products, including foods that contain CBD. Consistency on the treatment and regulation of non-psychoactive ingredients by the FDA will be helpful. RESTAURANT C-SUITE | Restaurant news that’s fresh, informed, inspired (by you) 20
Teas and kombucha provide much opportunity for QSRs In the tea category, many brands and formulations can speak to functionality, from relaxation and energy to probiotic and wellness-enhancement. Cold formulations of tea offer a myriad of choices. For the graband-go refcon, cold, RTD (ready-to-drink) teas are an optimal choice. As consumers look for pick-me-up beverages with specific functionality and implied benefits (that may have yet to be proven, in many cases), they’ll seek out these portable drinks. QSRs benefit from a diverse portfolio of to-go beverages and tea to drive incremental business. Many tea brands are de-emphasizing caffeine and spotlighting other ingredients, which have health halo (health-implied) formulations. These include “stimulants like guayusa, green tea, and matcha, but also yerba mate, which is starting to catch on with young Millennial consumers who are more adventurous with their food and beverages,” says Packaged Facts of this trend. DanoneWave’s STōK brand has the stimulant Yerba Mate. A strong collection of drinks can help satisfy customer demand and increase average check, particularly during the busy, lunch daypart, and in post-lunch snacking. Kombucha, made by fermenting sweet tea, is the new darling in the tea category. With claims of probiotic benefits from fermentation, kombucha is on the rise as a better-for-you beverage option. Gut health is an “enhanced functionality” that it promises, says Packaged Facts. Also, kombucha is a big driver of the tea market’s growth, helping the total tea & RTD category to grow from a current run rate of 2.1 percent to a projected 3.1 percent in the next five years.