Outstretched hand holding '2020' in crumpled, black paper cutout numbers

At long last, we can say it - the year 2020 is officially behind us. Last January, food and beverage industry experts placed a number of predictions for what the twelve months to follow would have in store. It goes without saying that the unexpected curveball of COVID-19 shattered everyone’s original expectations for the year. However, many early predictions for 2020's trends in the food and beverage markets rang true despite the drastic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. As we review the biggest themes that unfolded in the wake of COVID-19 last year, the following three common threads emerged across the board.

Deliverable Goods Gained

With lockdowns across the nation, and social distancing recommended for all but essential errands, countless Americans significantly reworked their regular routines. Grocery shopping became a source of anxiety and needless risk for many, especially when faced with fellow shoppers who refused to wear their masks. While concerns over exposure to coronavirus plagued the nation, the public’s demand for contactless delivery spiked. Many grocery shoppers found ways to stock their shelves through online ordering platforms, with the sales rates of Instacart memberships and the use of other home delivery features rising after the onset of COVID-19.

Traditionally dine-in eating establishments quickly learned that they’d have to adapt and bring food to their customer’s homes. Many of those that didn’t (or couldn’t) were unfortunately eradicated from their communities as the long months of social distancing stretched on. Uber’s rideshare rates plummeted after the pandemic hit, but rates of deliveries through UberEats, DoorDash and Postmates all quickly picked up steam. Online stores offering the option for home deliveries on beverages and novelty foods saw a similar surge in popularity last year, with no sign of slowing in the months to come.

Healthy Products Persevered

Multiple experts in the food and beverage industries predicted increased demand for plant-based products at the start of 2020. Understandably, a global health crisis had many of us seriously reflecting on the quality and makeup of the foods and beverages our families consume each day. As such, these predictions rang true - perhaps with an even greater than anticipated impact after the pandemic took hold. Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks were reported at meat-processing plants throughout the United States last year, forcing the closure of some and enhanced safety protocols at many more. While these stringent precautions were essential to better ensure the safety of all consumers and other citizens, they nonetheless significantly slowed the production and distribution of meat products at these facilities. Thankfully, producers of plant-based meat alternatives like Impossible Foods picked up where meat-based producers left off, as their organic foods and beverages don’t require animals at any point in the production process, making their standard operating procedures much less risky overall. Beverage manufacturers with primarily plant-based components and other natural ingredients, like Colorado’s Best Drinks, were similarly well-prepared to safely maintain standard operating practices despite the impact of COVID-19 while fully adhering to the maximum CDC-recommended standards of safety.

Food and beverages have increasingly been viewed as fuel for our bodies, and less as a purely hedonistic indulgence. Shoppers across the globe are now paying closer attention to the composition of our favorite products, and passing up those which taste good but fall short of healthy dietary standards. Thankfully, many delectable foods and drinks treat the senses without sacrificing dietary and caloric concerns. Colorado’s Best Drinks is proud to use five or fewer ingredients in all seven of our beverage flavors, with entirely vegan-friendly, gluten-free and non-GMO options and a detailed certificate of analysis readily available for each.

Tech Startups Succeeded

As we ventured further into unprecedented days of modern humanity, unprecedented innovations gained prominence in many industries, and the food and beverage market was no exception. Among the biggest leaders were tech-driven startups in the meat and dairy industries, which played a substantial role in the shift toward plant-based alternatives described above. The extended shelf lives of many adapted product lines allowed for producers to keep up with demand mid-pandemic with less concerns over the rapid expiration dates of traditional meat, dairy and poultry-based items. For instance, one Latin American company known as NotCo created a natural milk alternative called NotMilk. The popular product is allegedly remarkably similar in texture and taste to traditional dairy milk, with an AI-generated, plant-based composition.

Three Cheers for a Brand New Year!

Despite the incredible difficulties brought by the past year, we’ve finally made it to 2021, and we can’t wait to see what this new year has in store for us. No matter the circumstances, there’s no need for social distancing to stop you from enjoying Colorado’s Best Drinks’ sweet and satisfying sodas and sparkling waters.Visit our Sparkling Shop to order a twelve-pack or a forty-eight pack of Sparkling CBD Citrus Water, Hibiscus Water or our other delicious products today. We'll bring a case to your doorstep- ready to savor straight from the can or in these delicious drink recipes. All five flavors of our sparkling CBD sodas (and our two flavored Sparkling CBD water options) are delicious and refreshing. Our products all contain phytocannabinoid-rich, broad spectrum hemp extract. Better yet, each sparkling CBD beverage flavor is vegan, non-GMO, and free of gluten, sodium, and preservatives. PCR hemp extract is one of just five ingredients in every can of Colorado's Best Drinks, and you’ll taste that sweet simplicity with every sip.

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