Progressive Grocer

Grocerant February 2017

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14 SOLUTIONS FEBRUARY 2017 With $5 billion in annual catego- ry sales and growing, according to Chicago-based menu research firm Technomic, smoothies have the potential to supercharge both customers' energy levels and bev- erage sales. e smoothie has expanded far beyond its original role as a post-workout thirst quencher or an indulgent fruity treat. Now these blended drinks are touted as portable, balanced and nutritious meals in cups for the highly mobile and health conscious, packing in as many vegetables, fruits and so-called superfoods as possible. Protein is oen part of the mix too, in the form of whey, grass-fed whey and vegan-friendly hemp, pea and rice protein powders, along with nuts and seeds, nut milks and nut butters like almond and cashew. And consumers are thirsting for even more, driving a steady average of 2.8 percent annual growth in smoothie sales from 2011 to 2016, reports Los Angeles-based indus- try researcher IBISWorld. In fact, smoothies are almost an industry in and of themselves, comprising more than 1,600 businesses and 50,000 employees, according to IBISWorld. But all smoothies—and smoothie consumers—are not created equal. Here's a look at the latest flavor and ingredi- ent trends in blended beverages, and whose taste buds are most likely to be tantalized by them. Not-so-sweet sensations Newer smoothie and juice shops have stayed far away from added sugars, which were once the dominant (if not secret) Smoothie moves BY A M EL I A L E V I N Health, energy are key words for the latest blended beverage ingredients.

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