Trendspotting at the private label trade show

by Monica Watrous
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Coconut water is coming to single-serve brewers.

CHICAGO — Coconut water, cocktail mixers and cotton candy hot cocoa are coming to pod-based coffee brewers. Several exhibitors at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2015 Private Label Trade Show, held Nov. 15-17 in Chicago, showcased innovation that stretches the boundaries of the single-serve beverage category.

Trilliant Food, Beverage and Nutrition, Little Chute, Wis., unveiled single-serve cocktail mixers in such varieties as hot buttered rum, hot toddy, peppermint patty and appletini. The mixes are brewed with water and combined with alcohol to create convenient and customizable libations.

Trilliant's single-serve cocktail mixers are combined with alcohol to create convenient and customizable libations.

A new collection of globally inspired beverage mixes from Trilliant includes horchata cappuccino, dulce de leche cappuccino, Mexican hot cocoa and spicy black raspberry hot cocoa with a hint of habanero. Trilliant also featured single-serve coconut water mixes in original and pineapple varieties. The pour-over-ice products are shelf-stable and more cost-effective than ready-to-drink formats, said Peter Sawin, vice-president of marketing and innovation for Trilliant.

From TreeHouse Foods, Oak Brook, Ill., a line of single-serve hot cocoa mixes features such whimsically decadent flavors as peanut butter cup, birthday cake, s’mores and cotton candy. The company also displayed ice cream float mixes in dark chocolate, orange creamsicle, chocolate mint and root beer varieties. Each single-serve pod brews a flavored syrup topping for ice cream.

Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee makes a range of premium loose leaf teas in recyclable capsules.

Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee, Northbrook, Ill., featured a range of premium loose leaf teas in recyclable capsules with a patented filter and cup. The company was among several highlighting sustainable solutions for single-serve pods, including compostable and bio-degradable options.

Other new offerings in the single-serve segment at the show included seasonal varieties, organic blends and indulgent dessert flavors. The latter is particularly popular among younger generations, said Colleen Roberts, director of sales for Flavor Dynamics, Inc. At the private label show, the South Plainfield, N.J., flavor house highlighted a line of sweet and salty flavors for beverage applications, with such examples as salty Hawaiian hazelnut, salty Kona macadamia nut, and salty honey caramel. Savory and spicy flavors are set to gain steam in single-serve coffee, Ms. Roberts said.

Beyond pod-based beverages, several other product development trends emerged at the show. Here are five more.

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