A newsletter on upcoming food and beverage trends that offers a curation of brands and aesthetics written by Andrea Hernández.
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What’s up with hype-biscus?
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Risk it for the Hibiscus 🌺
Greetings from deep inside a humid valley, in the middle of the tropics, surrounded by green beyond the eye can see, and accompanied by chirping of birds, if only to remind us to celebrate this simulation.
The beauty of words is that they are vehicles of transportation, allow for us to suspend ourselves from this reality and journey into others, you are welcome to join me here —there’s a warmness that emanates from your chest and extends throughout your body, and as tiny drops of salty sweat form, feel free to cool off with a glass of —
There are over 200 species of Hibiscus around the world —in Asia/Pacific, Africa, the Caribbean and across the American continent, all different sizes, colors and consumed differently across cultures. Hibiscus’ unique portmanteau of sweetart (sweet + tart) can be consumed hot, cold, infused with alcohol or aromatic spices and it’s revered for its myriad of health benefits.
It would come to no surprise then, that back in 2012, a beverage giant like Starbucks, would find it apropo to offer an RTD hibiscus drink, in the form of “Very Berry Hibiscus” —and to no one’s surprise, this has been how many Americans have been introduced to hibiscus flavor ever since.
A few years later, Hibiscus began to trickle as a “trendy” flavor pairing in restaurants, (have you seen how Instagrammable it is?) growing side by side in popularity with the likes of Mezcal in the US. It even found itself being infused into beer and by 2016, there was a boom of pink-hued hibiscus beers and from there hibiscus as a stand alone ingredient has continued to rise —from energy balls, to CBD, to probiotics, to RTD water.
Here’s how much hibiscus flavor popularity has grown in the past decade 📈
— According to this report, over the past 5 years, hibiscus has been showing growth around the globe with a 78% increase in new products since 2014.
—21% of US consumers would like to see items with floral flavors on a menu when dining out.
—Since 2014 there’s been 1,215 Hibiscus flavored new product introductions, with North America accounting for 12% of all hibiscus flavored new product introductions
—Global hibiscus powder market is expected to reach $197M in the next 5 years, growing at a CAGR of 7%, food & beverage segment holds largest share in the market
—According to Innova Market Insights, there has been a 50% average annual growth of new product launches tracked with hibiscus flavor in the last 5 years
—Desire for reduced sugar/low sugar products have also helped capitulate hibiscus into mainstream
Ground Control to Rubynaut 🚀
Even prior to Snaxshot, I found myself embarked on a hibiscus adventure since last August, and by October I had stumbled upon a rubyhole and gleefully have been orbiting in it ever since. The origins of the Rubyverse can be described in more detail here by the Shmee prophets—but TLDR: in the beginning, there was a need for better beverage, and to quench our universal thirst, thousands of years in the past and simultaneously the future, a particular strain was chosen as the center of all things Rubyverse, hailing from a crop in Burkina Faso, that has a unique, complex flavor with notes of cherries and pomegranate, the perfect pairing for curbing sugar cravings.
If you’ve come along this far, you’re officially a Rubynaut, just make sure your helmet is secured tightly, you wouldn’t want any Evil sweetness to sip in, it’s like their dark matter.
Sorry for the static, sometimes it’s hard to get good reception as one goes deeper into the Rubyverse, which is composed by an infinite amount of unexplored planets —for now, I’ve only accompanied other Rubynauts into Zarn, Nonzugar, Planet Majora, Pain-in-theassonimus, the fourth and seventh planet. The Rubyverse eclipses our own universe in terms of moons, nebulas and supernovas.
I’ve grown very fond of its inhabitants, the humble but wise shmee have such great hearts, known for good times and bravely fighting sugar, a sorceress/sorcerer (though according to ancient texts, depends on the day) —they’ve partnered with a very large bunny, (in their language) Utvarp and the noble glitches that help combat evil, and scrub the Rubyverse source code to ensure it’s free from sugar.
Then there's Jeff, but word around the Rubyverse is that “he’s kind of an asshole” (though I will give him the benefit of the doubt) and Zobo, a wonderful, bright shining light.
You will encounter two kinds of Ruby sects in your travels, the light and the unsweetened, in this multiverse, they both preach the goodness of tart, an ideology I can subscribe to, things shouldn’t have to be sweet to be enjoyable.
There are different portals to enter the Rubyverse, but be forewarned that to be granted safe passage the requirement is—to have fun. My dear friends in the Rubyverse have also granted us a faster way to warp in, using code “Snapple” here.
The sun sets in the Rubyverse, it’s always hard to say goodbye, but alas there is still more for us to explore in this issue. Also Jeff is starting to get annoying. Hold on tight, we’re warping back out.
During my travels I’ve been able to chart out other hibiscus multiverses, some smaller than others but still worth nothing below:
Berry Bissap: They are a brand of hibiscus tea with West African hibiscus and authentic indigenous spices that are organically grown and ethically sourced from Northern Ghana, and infused with organic fruit.
Nuba: This brand is based in Ontario, Canada, owned by an incredible woman with the most resilient energy, her brand holds true to the founders roots in Egypt. Their premium quality hibiscus flowers are grown on the banks of the Nile.
Cale: Based in California, they’re a “wellness company” focusing on alcohol alternatives. Their first release, an herbal wines, "Hibiscus Pinot Noir” - a light-bodied, dry, floral, low-alcoholic wine with notes of wildflowers and dark cherries.
Chilled: Based in Paris, France they are a is a CBD and hibiscus-infused spring sparkling water. Their branding gives me major vintage Pepsi vibes, they only do hibiscus water for now! Gotta give it to the French, the can looks dope.
Avec: Though previously mentioned in prior SXS issues, including here for their amazing hibiscus flavored non-alcoholic, mixer!
Shop Small + Local 🤗
A non-sponsored space that will highlight small businesses to support + give back to community in 2021.
Let me introduce you all to Thom Padanilam from Thommy's Toddy Shop and his incredible resilience story throughout the pandemic. Happy to have come across this brand because their branding is dope, in a good vintage-y way, and y’all the merch, the TTS jacket is FIRE.
They are a condiment company that aims to amplify the flavors of southern India, the ones that founder Thom grew up with and cherishes. He had been working as a line cook at Superkhana International in Chicago when the pandemic hit.
When they pivoted to staff-driven culinary offerings, Thommy started TTS to explore what made him fall in love with cooking: understanding his connection to “home” through food and sharing that. So far, they’ve launched four unique products, and are excited to continue to innovate.
You can find more about TTS here.
Spoonful of News 🥄
Travis Scott’s hard seltzer, Cacti, launches today.
Target introduced a new food/bev line.
Walmart x Beyond Meat sends $BEYOND stock up.
Albertson’s x Tortoise partner to provide autonomous groceries in the cutest way.
Amazon announced 28 more Fresh grocery stores this year.
See you again next week, a different future, same place.
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