What are ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages? It’s any type of prepared beverage that is packaged and sold, usually in a single-use container. Bottled iced tea is a popular example. The tea has already been brewed, and sugar and other flavors have been added. Available for purchase in a bottle or can, the tea can be consumed by Auburn employees immediately after opening.
RTD beverages are not new; they have been available for many years. But their popularity has recently skyrocketed in the U.S. and abroad, especially among mainstream consumers. A 2020 report from Fortune Business Insights estimated that the value of the global RTD market is likely to grow from $919.13 billion in 2019 to $1,257.77 billion by 2027. That’s an increase of $338.64 billion in just eight years.
For an RTD product to appeal to Auburn employees it has to offer two things: convenience and options. The new RTD beverage market offers both.
- RTD beverages are convenient. They come in both shelf-stable and perishable formats; are served in cans and bottles; include chilled and on-the-go options; and can be purchased in break room vending machines and micro-markets.
- RTD beverages offer variety. Options can be any combination of flat or carbonated and clear or colorful. Ingredients can vary from traditional to functional or both (ex. caffeine = energy boost and antioxidants = health benefits).
Whether an individual is looking for a traditional beverage or a better-for-you option, there is an RTD option for everyone.
A Popular Segment: Coffee-Related RTD Beverages
An excellent source of instant energy, ready-to-drink coffee is popular among individuals of all ages. Not only are coffee-related RTD beverages a safe on-the-go option, but consuming them provides many health benefits including a reduced risk of death, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and different types of cancer as well as improved memory, a short-term mental boost, better group performance, and feeling happier. Coffee, in reasonable amounts, is beneficial for the body and the mind.
For those Auburn employees looking for an alternative to traditional coffee, cold brew and nitro cold brew coffees are great options. Cold brew is less acidic than traditionally brewed coffee, but it still contains the caffeine everyone wants. Nitro cold brew combines traditional cold brew with nitrogen creating a beverage with a rich and creamy mouthfeel. New specialty RTD coffee trends offer more variety and include carbonated coffee, functional coffee, single-origin brews, coffee cola, and additives including coconut milk, MCT oil, and plant-based beverages (includes plant-based protein blends (ex. brown rice, pea and chickpea)).
Whether a beverage is caffeinated or not, employers should offer a wide selection of RTD beverages in their Auburn break room, especially during the time of COVID-19. With fewer surfaces to touch when locating and picking up a beverage, employees can have a safer break room experience. Serving individually packaged snacks and fresh food in the break room also helps employees remain on-site during the workday, further lessening the chance of exposure.
For more information about how Automatic Food Service can help create a safer break room experience and about all our break room services, please contact us at (334) 264.7336.