The Fresh Market has revamped the craft and specialty beverage section in all of its stores, more than doubling the number of offerings.
The Greensboro, N.C.-based specialty supermarket chain, which has 161 locations in 22 states, said it unveiled the reset beverage assortment in July after a three-month process. The more than 300 new beverage items include the latest in cold brews, kombuchas, adaptogenics, energy drinks and clean-label sparkling waters, among other drinks.
As part of the curation effort, the grocery team brought in nearly 600 beverages and did four cuttings over two weeks, The Fresh Market said. More than 300 team members tasted and rated beverages based on flavor, functionality and innovation. Then based on that feedback, plus vendor suggestions and industry data, the retailer created an optimal beverage selection.
“The goal we had in mind was to make the beverage aisle like a craft beer experience,” according to Dwight Richmond, director of grocery for The Fresh Market. “Our approach was to take into account the latest trends — from functional beverages to non-alcoholic beer and wine-inspired waters — to provide our guests with a hip way to quench their thirst.”
Additions include another 60 flavors of kombucha. The Fresh Market noted that sales of the probiotic, fermented tea have grown by double-digits, fueled by the entry of new and niche players to the category and established brands expanding their lineups with on-trend and seasonal flavors. Brands bringing new kombucha varieties to The Fresh Market include GT’s Enlightened, Holy Kombucha, HUMM, Kevita, Buchi, Buddha’s Brew, Kombucha 221BC, Big Easy Bucha, Tribucha, Brew Dr., Health-Ade and Rowdy Mermaid.
More than 25 new brands of sparkling waters were added. Describing sparkling waters as the “new alternative sodas,” the Fresh Market said natural flavors with transparent labeling and sustainable sourcing were some of the qualities sought by buyers.
Brands making their debut at the retailer included Nixie Sparkling Water, Found Sparkling Water, HyVIDA, Pep Talk and Montane, as well as sustainably harvested water brands Asarasi, Richard’s Rainwater and BANU Bamboo Water. The Fresh Market also introduced new flavors for its store-brand sparkling water, such as cucumber melon, grapefruit, lemon and lime.
A sharper consumer focus on health and wellness has propelled growth in the non-alcoholic alternative beverage segment, The Fresh Market said. In line with that trend, the chain has added two new options: H2OPS, a sparkling hop water brewed like a craft beer but containing only hops, and Napa Hills Vineyard Enriched Waters, which provides the antioxidant benefits of a glass of red wine yet without the calories, sugar or alcohol.
Also on the health and wellness front, The Fresh Market expanded its energy drink assortment. The retailer noted that the category “has exploded as fitness enthusiasts look to get the most from their workouts and enhance their performance with a natural buzz of caffeine, antioxidants and electrolytes.” Brand additions include Celsius, Kill Cliff Ignite, Sambazon Amazon Energy, Matchabar Hustle, Hi-Ball Sparkling Energy Drink, Temple, Metta Natural Awareness, Bing, Sunshine and Clean Cause Sparkling Yerba Mate.
There’s also been plenty of innovation in the cold-brewed coffee segment, where sales “continue to percolate” as more craft and artisanal brands come to market, including keto and iced varieties, according to The Fresh Market. New brands at the retailer include Snowing in Space, Groundwork Certified Organic Cold Brew Coffee, PicNik, Califia Farms Iced and Cold Brew Coffee, and Pop & Bottle.
The Fresh Market said it’s also the nation’s first retailer to bring specialty sodas and lemonades “from across the pond,” such as U.K.-based Bottle Green Sparkling and Dalston’s specialty sodas, which have no artificial ingredients and one-third less sugar, and artisanal French lemonades Rieme and Elixia. In addition, The Fresh Market features locally made Cannonborough craft soda (Charleston, S.C.), which has replaced artificial ingredients with fresh produce and natural sweeteners like honey basil and raspberry mint.
“You would be hard-pressed to find as diverse a specialty beverage offering as The Fresh Market’s,” Richmond added. “Not only is our goal making everyday eating extraordinary, but also offering our guests unique options in thirst-quenching refreshment.”
Other new offerings include on-trend mineral and specialty waters (BLK Mineral Waters, Blume Honey Water, NOOMA, Harmless Harvest, Blue Monkey, Lemoncoco and ALO), adaptogenic teas (GT’s ALIVE, BOS Iced Tea and Mr. Mak’s GinBao), and plant-based protein drinks and herbal elixirs (Rebbl, Koia, KiiTO and Remedy Organics).