Productivity is seen as the key to unlocking the optimized self
Time seems to be forever the most elusive yet sought after asset that we can gift to others. The rise of social media has meant that for years now, we each place increasing pressure on ourselves to be able to dedicate a sufficient amount of energy into our health and fitness, our professional life, and our social life. We are seeking holistic health and abundant amounts of energy, success and job satisfaction, and meaningful connections, but what’s more is that we also want to genuinely enjoy each of these activities.
The result is a growing communal pressure to make every second count – whether it’s optimising exercise, performing at work or unwinding with friends. In the past few years people have become creative, looking to combine occasions to fulfil more than one of these pillars at a time. The rise in fitness communities such as boutique gyms allows people to socialise and work out, and the introduction of workspaces like WeWork has normalised both exercising and socialising at the workplace. Clearly defined occasions that have previously been rooted in society are changing rapidly to keep up with the growing demands we place on ourselves.
In addition to the redefinition of traditional occasions, perceptions around staples in society such as alcohol have also taken a turn that many would never have predicted. As we increasingly seek to increase productivity in all areas of life; whether that’s being at home with the kids, performing well at work or going to the gym, having a hangover is no longer as permissible or widely accepted. We are witnessing a shift in people’s acceptance of those not drinking in social occasions, again impacting how, when and why people are consuming beverages.
But what does this continuous search for optimised productivity across all areas of life mean for the future?
Rapid innovation of categories drives the need for true creativity
The no/low alcohol space is an incredibly dynamic category. As awareness around the sophistication of these drinks increases, so too does the demand, as more and more people begin to view abstaining or moderating as a credible option that doesn’t impact the quality of their drink or experience. The introduction of Seedlip carved the way for a multitude of non-alcoholic spirits, defining a completely new category in beverages. Now the brand has released their second category defining product, in the form of Aecorn, a line of non-alcoholic aperitifs. This expansion into aperitifs has us asking the question, what other areas of alcoholic beverages can the no/low trend expand into, and who will carve the way in defining these categories? As the general understanding around the mindset and drivers of this new wave of consumers becomes more widespread, we believe it will be organisations that demonstrate true creativity in their innovation that succeed.
Within the on-trade, we find the creative influence in Seedlip is ever-present. No matter how small the pub/bar, even your local in Barnes Bridge, you may find this fresh take upon the non-alcoholic spirit. Thus, even if forced to the pub on a rainy day after work, you need not worry, you can still reside in that un-inebriated state of peace as your fellow colleagues indulge in the impending hangover.
The LNA trend has been taken one step further by some east-end bars, however. The likes of shoreditch’s ‘Dishoom’ places a ban on the substance and invites its customers to indulge in the rich heritage behind the old Irani café, to which they refer in the third person. How are we to enjoy an evening without any alcohol? You may be asking. Well, the café offers another form of conversation starter. Almost as if it had its own sense of self, the café dives deep into the story behind Dishoom, guiding each of its entrants through the avenues of its vivacious and colourful history. An immersive and exotic experience of all things Bombay, not to mention staying true to the prohibition laws that still stand today, you’ll learn of the ways in which this modest café attained its status. In place of alcohol you can rely upon something far more primal to stimulate the flow of conversation; storytelling. The café draws you into this thematic world of escapism and stories to be told and pushes its customers towards the overwhelming question; why is it we drink at all?
Alternative ingredients such as CBD will drive changes in demands of the on-trade
As consumers seek to reduce the impact of occasions on their subsequent productivity, we predict more people will favour ingredients such as CBD in some social settings over alcohol.
As CBD increases in popularity, with further legalisation in states across the US, we are seeing a shift in how brands tailor the social experience surrounding these drinks. Users are increasingly embracing CBD in social occasions, whether it’s as an added ingredient in a cocktail, or as a drink that replaces the need for alcohol entirely.
The impact this will have on the on-trade are yet to be defined. CBD may help to enhance pre-defined occasions such as low-tempo socialising in coffee shops and up-tempo in bars. However, we may see a shift to demanding spaces that are more versatile, offering environments that suit both occasions around alcohol and CBD. This also presents a great opportunity for other services such as hotels, where relaxed bar settings and drinks suited to unwinding may be more suited to CBD’s associations.
Convenience + easy nutrition
Amidst pressures to achieve a sustainable level of holistic health within a short amount of time, consumers continue to look for convenient formats to deliver quick and easy nutritious content. As awareness of sugar content of smoothies and juices increases however, and as consumers look for increasingly natural flavours instead of synthetic flavourings of shakes, we expect to see a rise in more balanced, low-sugar formulations. This rise of half-and-half plant-based milks for example means that products can be created that combine taste benefits of coconut milk with texture and nutritional content of pea-based milks, creating nutritious and naturally flavoured drinks that could soon look to challenge more artificially flavoured shakes.
The rise of productivity places increasing pressure on consumers. However, it can also be empowering when they are enabled to feel fully present in the moment and as if they are achieving something with their precious time; even if this is just catching up with friends in a meaningful way. Beverages have a strong role to play in shaping the occasions and the impacts of these drinks, we expect to see some truly exciting innovation in both the experience and the ingredients used as a reflection of this in the future.
Here at Butterfly, we pride ourselves on enabling inspiring creativity rooted in true consumer insight, resulting in disruptive innovation. For more information, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org