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Summertime brings the heat, barbecues and pool parties. The food and beverage industries count on American consumers purchasing traditional barbecue fare such as burgers, hot dogs, and beer. But with consumer’s eating habits evolving in search of more healthy options, these industries will need to make adjustments to their products in order to capitalize on their shifting tastes.


As consumers focus on more health-friendly options, smart bun brands are altering their strategies to keep up with the changing market. Over the past year, reports found that dollar sales for hot dog and hamburger buns dropped 1.2% to $1.9 billion. Adding value to buns through nutrition or multi-purpose uses will help differentiate their products in the supermarket. Guy Ozery, owner of Ontario-based Ozery Bakery, states, “We saw a void in the marketplace, which was saturated with unhealthy, calorie-dense buns, so we created a heart-healthy, pre-sliced thin bun made with 100% whole grains.”


7 billion hot dogs were consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2017, but this year, the traditional brats and burgers may be missing from summer parties. According to Mintel’s 2018 Summer Food and Drink Trend Report, vegan barbecue is on the rise. There’s been an increase in specialty vegan options, including barbecue. The report found that 33% of U.S. consumers, and 37% of millennials, plan to buy more plant-based foods in 2018, leading sales of plant-based foods to grow 8.1% over the past year.


55% of consumers cut out soft drinks when trying to limit their sugar intake, causing flavored sparkling waters to be a more popular choice. Per Mintel’s report, 37% of Americans ages 25 to 34 have had flavored sparkling water such as LaCroix in the past three months. “The desire for unsweetened beverage options, along with consumer demand for more exotic flavors and unusual ingredients, is driving a trend toward more and more creative sparkling waters,” said Jenny Zegler, associate director of food and drink for Mintel.


As consumers have become more mindful about their health, low-carb, low-cal hard seltzer has made their mark in the liquor industry. Between July and September 2017, the combined sales of the top six hard seltzer brands accounted for just under $60 million in sales, more than four times the amount sold during the same time frame in 2016. According to a recent report, beverage categories with health attributes are outperforming those without these claims, which is why hard seltzer brands incorporate this into their packaging.

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