With its wholesome ingredients, craft soda wants to hone its healthier and more natural alternative image
By NACS Online
Craft soda appears poised to capitalize on customer appreciation for healthier and more natural food products, QSR Magazine reports. While customers have been ditching regular soda, craft sodas like Appalachian Craft Soda, Jones Soda and Maine Root have become popular at fast-casual restaurants and other retailers.
Craft sodas are generally made without corn syrup or artificial flavors or colors. Most are made with cane sugar and are often organic or Fair Trade-certified. “The industry is changing; customers are looking for something with more life to it,” said Benji Rosen, owner of Benjyehuda restaurant. “You’re removing the harmful chemical aspects of big soda while offering something more curated and cutting-edge.”
The small companies producing these specialty drinks have found fans in millennials. “[Craft soda] meets the demand of consumers today who don’t want more calories from sugary drinks,” said Ben Conniff, president of Luke’s Lobster, which produces Maine Root and Green Bee drinks. “Whether it’s Maine Root’s organic, Fair Trade, cane sugar soda, or Green Bee supporting bee colonies and sustainable ingredients, they’re better for the environment and local economies.”
Craft soda also combines extravagance with wellness, as customer view sipping a craft soda as being better-for-them than traditional soft drinks and having exotic tastes. “Flyrite’s on that fine line. Are we a health food? Not exactly, but we’re real food in a quick-service, drive-thru, dine-in model. People would rather indulge with something real,” said Kevin Warden, founder and CEO of Flyrite eatery. “That philosophy carries from our menu with no artificial ingredients, MSG, or over-salting to our Maine Root sodas made with real cane sugar.”
Craft soda has been gaining in popularity recently too. Its volume grew 5% in 2016 to 88.8 million gallons, compared to 2015.