Google beverage report finds thirst for information on 3 key trends
- Google’s new beverage trends report identifies three trends in online searches for beverages: craft production processes — like cold brew — earthy flavors found in kombucha and matcha, and premium water — especially in larger format, like gallon or multi-pack.
- This is Google’s first ever beverage trends report, which analyzed search data for non-alcoholic drinks in the U.S., United Kingdom, Mexico and Spain. The 62-page report used information gathered between April 2015 and March 2017.
- Process-based beverages, like cold brew and infusions, were found to be sustained risers and have reached mainstream audiences in all four markets. Google projects that this trend has lasting power.
Consumers may bend the truth in industry surveys or reviews, but their Google search history does not lie. This first-ever beverage trends report provides insight into what drinks consumers are curious about, which is a treasure trove of honest information for manufacturers and retailers.
Cold brew coffee is a booming trend, but the process used to make it is what makes it stand out. The drink is made with room temperature or cold water, which purports to bring out chocolate and sweet notes, while making it less bitter. Google found that consumers like its DIY factor in particular, citing YouTube searches to learn how to master the process at home.
As consumers’ tastes change, many are now looking for functional foods and beverages. Earthy flavors associated with plants and herbs especially stand out in this trend. Matcha has been reported to have health benefits such as antioxidants and promoting weight loss, and had a breakout year in 2016. Google notes to keep an eye on dandelion, turmeric, chamomile and parsley in the future.
Premium water is also having a moment in more than one way. Many of the top trending searches tied to this category are focused on enhancing water — boosting alkalinity, adding bubbles or using premium water bottles. In addition, consumers want to be able to buy more premium water at once. There is increased interest in larger containers — like gallon jugs — and at-home delivery options.
Manufacturers and retailers can glean a great deal from Google’s research and analysis. Beverage makers would be wise to take note of the importance placed on what goes into making a drink. Making the process a primary focus can bring added value to any beverage. Also, touting the health benefits and plant-based nature of a drink are attractive to consumers. Lastly, any company that processes or markets water should take note of consumers' desire to buy in bulk or have their purchase delivered to them. Some small tweaks in these departments could pay off down the road.
All three of Google’s top trends appear to have staying power, at least for the foreseeable future. Consumers want to know more about where their drinks are from and how they’re made. In addition, consumers want to keep drinking good-for-you water, but don’t want the boring experience of a plain glass of still water. If manufacturers or marketers jazz up this everyday staple to make it feel more special, consumers will take note.
Finding a product in the Google Beverage Report can be a mixed blessing. It’s terrific to know consumers internationally want to learn more about a drink. But would it be better if they were already familiar with it? Ideally, makers of these trendy drinks will take notes from Google’s extensive research to turn their of-the-moment beverage into a household name that doesn’t need a search.