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C-store Sales Can Heat Up With Frozen Beverage Innovation

ATLANTA — As summer temperatures rise, so does consumer demand for quick, convenient and fun frozen drinks. More than that, consumers are looking for frozen drinks that are innovative, flavorful and colorful. 

Frozen beverage innovation is being driven by the new generation of consumers who are injecting life and vitality into the segment, according to Randy Raymond, director of retail foodservice strategy for The Coca-Cola Co.

According to Raymond, the key to making frozen beverages successful in convenience stores is understanding consumer preferences.

"Frozen beverages today are largely driven by teens and millennials, who are attracted to these drinks because they are fun,” he said. “This group loves new, interesting flavors, and they love having the opportunity to mix and match both colors and flavors to create highly personalized drinks that reflect their mood and personality."

Raymond added c-store operators should keep these frozen drink statistics in mind:

  • Demand is seasonal, picking up in late spring, peaking at the height of summer and tailing off midfall.
  • It’s important to differentiate your store from the competition because frozen beverages are widely available.
  • Nearly 50 percent of all frozen beverage purchases are impulse buys. Half of those purchases are made because the product looked good, or the consumer saw an interesting color or flavor.
  • 37 percent of teens and millennials choose a store location that allows them to customize colors and flavors.
  • The frozen beverage category thrives on innovation: 65 percent of consumers love to see a mix of both traditional and new products and flavors.
  • 73 percent of consumers said they’d love to see frozen beverage products and flavors rotated once a month or more.

Variety is also key in catering to additional frozen beverage demands. While teens enjoy sweet and sour frozen carbonated beverages (FCBs), Coca-Cola has also seen a demand for desert-themed frozen beverages, like strawberry shortcake and banana split, as well as tropical-themed colors and flavors like mango and passion fruit.

Another significant trend the beverage company has found is traditional FCBs are being supplemented by frozen un-carbonated beverages, which are smoother in texture without the light and fluffy expansion of FCBs.

"My biggest advice to convenience store operators is don't let your frozen drink offerings get stale. That's the worst thing you can do,” Raymond concluded. “This drink category has tremendous potential to drive new consumers into your stores, provided you keep it interesting by constantly rotating both new and traditional flavors."

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