New Summer Products Outshine Traditional Staples

Innovative dining and drinking options available to consumers.

May 30, 2019

NEW YORK—For most Americans, Memorial Day is considered the unofficial start of summer. That means the beginning of barbecues, pool parties, picnics and outdoor social occasions. Beer and hot dogs are mandatory menu items at most events, but according to Nielsen, the consumer research organization, traditional products are making way for a range of emerging options.

For warm weather 2019, food retailers should consider promotion strategies beyond the established summer staples, Nielsen advised. Expect to see more plant-based meat alternatives, ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages, legal cannabis offerings and private-label products. Examining categories during the past year, Nielsen predicts these changes for summer 2019:

Traditional Meat vs. Plant-Based Alternatives
(Source: Nielsen Total U.S. xAOC, March 23, 2019)

  • Plant-based meat alternatives
    • +13.5% from a year earlier
  • Traditional meat
    • Overall: +2.6%
  • Frankfurters
    • +1.9%. Though a modest gain, it’s a rebound of three years of declining sales. 
Beverage Alcohol
(Source: Nielsen Total U.S. xAOC+Conv+Military+Liquor Plus, April 20, 2019)
  • Consumers looking for convenience, freshness and H&W
  • Hard seltzer
    • +193% vs. year earlier
  • Hard kombucha
    • +247.3%
  • Canned wine
    • +77.5%
  • Canned cocktails
    • Wine-based cocktails: +41.9%
  • Spirits-based cocktails: +40.7%
    • Still/table rosé wine: +37.5% from a year earlier, but growth is slowing.
  • Sparkling rosé wine: +25.5%
  • Beer stagnant: +0.1%
  • Frozen cocktails are popular in on-premise environments: 34% of U.S. adults have tried these, greater than beer buckets (29%) and low-calorie drinks (20%). 
(Source: Nielsen U.S. Consumer Research Study 2017)
  • Overall interest in purchasing legal cannabis
    • 34% of adults age 21+ indicated they are interested in consuming cannabis legally
  • Cannabis interacting with Bev Al
    • 44% of spirits drinkers interested in cannabis
    • 41% of beer drinkers interested in cannabis
    • 35% of wine drinkers interested in cannabis 
Brandless Summer
(Source: Nielsen Total U.S. xAOC, April 27, 2019)
  • Overall: Private label is growing at a greater clip
    • Private label: +3.8% from year earlier
  • Traditional branded: +1.9%
  • Alcohol: +17%
  • Meat: +5%