Autumnal Iced Beverages and Other Surprising Fall LTO Trends


The formats and flavours dominating this year’s autumn LTO beverage offerings will influence 2022 menus

KerryDigest Fast Facts:

  • Foodservice brands in Europe and Russia are embracing the autumn season, launching around double the number of limited time offer (LTO) beverage as last year.
  • Across the region, three main flavour trends are emerging: seasonal indulgence, spice and harvest flavours.
  • Our latest Kerry proprietary research reveals the demand for LTOs and their role in increasing sales, footfall and brand loyalty.
  • Also of note: With LTOs launching earlier in the season there has been a 9% increase in iced beverage launches for autumn compared to 2020.
Get KerryDigest articles delivered to your inbox

KerryDigest Full Scoop:

Limited time offer (LTO) beverages require a significant amount of effort across creation, production and supply for a product that may only be in stores for a few weeks. However, our latest Kerry proprietary research indicates that not only do LTOs increase sales, they also increase footfall at foodservice outlets and strengthen brand loyalty by satisfying the consumer craving for seasonal and exciting new beverage flavours.

To support you in crafting a seasonal beverage that will win big with consumers for autumn and make your brand stand-out in seasons to come, our experts have developed the Art of Taste and Nutrition: Autumn Beverages report, which analyses the top trends, flavours and platforms for autumn 2021 LTOs across Europe and Russia. In this article, we examine some of the key insights from the report and review what they mean for foodservice brands as they plan their 2022 LTO calendars and offerings.

Seasonal flavours biggest trend for autumn

The Art of Taste and Nutrition: Autumn Beverages report includes a 12-market study of LTO beverages across Europe and Russia. With this pan-European approach we collected reliable insights on what is driving autumn beverage trends and innovation.

Amongst our findings: Seasonal and indulgent flavours were the big winners for autumn 2021 LTO beverages, with pumpkin spice, caramel and chocolate taking the top three autumn LTO flavours. The rise of the pumpkin spice latte, or the ‘PSL’ as it’s known on social media, can be seen across Europe both through iced and hot beverages and even different platforms such as hot chocolate and frappe. In second and third place were chocolate and caramel, which speak to the post pandemic consumer and the focus on treating and indulgence when purchasing out-of-home. Consumers continue to favour nostalgic flavours they can rely on to deliver comfort.

Here are some of the other top flavour trends we saw:

  • A touch of spice: Spice played a role in many autumn beverage LTOs in the form of flavour pairings such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cardamom. The fourth most popular LTO flavour, according to our research was chai, which speaks to the consumer trend of wanting warming flavours that are versatile, bringing comfort on some occasions and excitement in others. Spices like turmeric and ginger, which showed up in our LTO analysis, also are linked with wellness and immunity, highlighting the increased focus on health benefits in beverages.
  • Healthy harvest flavours: Harvest flavours such as pumpkin have become intrinsically linked to the autumn beverage season, however, other harvest flavours including apple, blackcurrant, raspberry, pear and cranberry are also starting to come through in LTO beverages for autumn. This indicates the importance of seasonal and authentic fruit and harvest flavours for consumers at this time of year.
Increase in iced beverages with earlier LTO launches

There’s no doubt that there’s been an increase in iced beverages across the summer months in Europe and Russia, driven by a growing popularity amongst younger generations. However, this is starting to carry over into the autumn season, with a 9% increase in iced LTO beverages captured in our report compared to autumn 2020.

This year many of the global chains debuted autumn LTOs in August, offering a range of both iced and hot beverages to appeal to customers no matter the weather.  couple outdoors drinking hot beverages

The reason for this is twofold. Although early adopters of iced beverages were younger consumers, category consumption is growing consistently across older age groups, with an overall increase of 28%, according to Allegra’s World Iced Coffee 2020 report. Also, outlets are launching their seasonal LTOs earlier in the year, with many of the global chains debuting autumn LTOs in August with a range of both iced and hot beverages to appeal to customers no matter the weather.

Opportunity to elevate your LTO for Halloween

While North Americans celebrate Halloween, Christmas and Easter for several weeks lead up to the event, Europe tends to take a more laid-back approach. However, in recent years the European food and beverage industry has started to embrace the trend of turning certain festive occasions into their own LTO windows, and the spooky season is no exception. Consumers now expect foodservice outlets to elevate their offering for Halloween, with a focus on colour, texture and a ‘fright and delight’ approach.

Our research shows that consumer want LTOs to be repeated and available more frequently, with taste, novelty and added elements like toppings and sauces influencing their purchase decisions. spiced autumn beverage in mug

Consumer demand for LTOs is increasing

New Kerry proprietary research into consumer perceptions of LTOs within Europe indicates that consumer want LTOs to be repeated and available more frequently, with consumers claiming that taste is the most important factor for successful LTOs, followed by a change from the normal offer and added elements like toppings and sauces. Consumers also agree that LTOs encourage them to buy and visit foodservice outlets and can help to increase brand loyalty.

Future trends in autumn LTO beverages

Our ‘Taste and Nutrition: Autumn Beverages’ report allows us to look at the current trends and flavours in the market. To predict future trends, and help you stay ahead of the curve, we input these trends to our proprietary artificial intelligence tool, Kerry Trendspotter, which uncovers emerging flavours and trends in the market by analysing thousands of online interactions, Google search data and user generated content.

Reviewing the data, two trends emerged for future beverage innovation, which shouldn’t be ignored as 2022 menus are formulated. One was around seasonal berry flavours, but with a focus on well-being and immunity as health continues to be a growing trend with consumers post pandemic.

The second future flavour trend discovered was creamy and indulgent flavours but with a plant-based twist with terms like ‘horchata’, ‘vegan white chocolate’ and ‘vegan treats’ all trending online.

There continues to be a growing opportunity to win in the LTO beverage market within foodservice, and the autumn season is no exception. There is a need for both indulgent and healthy beverages which support consumer wellbeing and their desire for comforting treats.

As consumers continue to demand taste, innovation and added benefits from LTOs, foodservice brands must keep up. To stay ahead of the curve and discover the top trends and flavours in the market, download the Art of Taste & Nutrition: Autumn Beverages report. To work with our expert-lead team of baristas and beverage scientists to create winning beverage concepts, contact us.


Related content:

Get KerryDigest articles delivered to your inbox