Quenching our thirst looks like being an increasingly bizarre activity in the future, if it is true that the 2017 will mark the success of the most outlandish beverage trends, stretching the limits of what is considered to be recherché.
Alas ... they will not be elixirs of eternal youth and they will not make us invincible, but they will certainly be healthy and, at least for the time it takes to empty a glass, we too can feel like celebrities: Beyoncé for instance is apparently mad about "plant waters," in other words, watermelon water.
Which brings us to beverage trend number one...
BEVERAGE TRENDS 2017: PLANT WATERS, INCREASINGLY REFINED
Did you ever imagine being able to drink maple water one day? In actual fact, it has been creating a buzz since last spring. But what if we were to say that you can also drink birch or cactus waters?
Is the "plant waters" trend a completely new phenomenon? Yes and no. A lot of time has passed since the craze for "coconut water," and just when we thought the trend had fizzled out, the incessant demand for beverages with "a difference" has led to the launch of maple water, followed by that of birch sap and then "cactus water."
There has been talk of this fashion for some time now. Birch sap, which is a typical product of the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere (that is to say, from Belarus to Sweden and from Romania to Estonia, comprising England and Scotland), is practically unique as far as sourcing is concerned: in fact, it can only be harvested between the end of winter and the start of spring, when sap resumes its frenetic circulation through the trees.
Moreover, it has also earned the label of "super food": rich in anti-oxidants, amino acids, mineral salts and xylitol. And its taste? What if we were to say it tastes like spring water with little or no sugar and a hint of pine plus ... a breath of fresh air?
A more assertive and satisfying taste is offered by cactus water, also known as prickly pear water, which may even oust coconut water and aloe vera juice. In actual fact, cactus water is a mix of prickly pear extract and concentrate with the addition of water and natural aromas.
In brief, it is not sap, but something else all together. It's a little like watermelon water, which shares many healthy characteristics with cactus water, as well as a rosy future if we believe the forecasts of analysts such as Julian Melletin of the New Nutrition Business, according to whom plant waters in general will generate a turnover of four billion dollars from now until 2025.
IN 2017, "HIGH" PRESSURE WILL BE HEALTHY
If watermelon water is not water, then what is it? Mixed watermelon juice, flesh and skin, with a dash of lemon. Never pasteurised, but high pressure processed, because juices, concentrates and extracts – along with cold tea and coffee – will be prepared more frequently by means of HPP (High Pressure Processing), to maintain the nutritional properties of the ingredients.
The only downside is that unpasteurised, these beverages have a very short shelf life. They must be consumed shortly after purchasing, in the same way as fresh milk.
BEVERAGE TRENDS 2016: COFFEE, TEA AND INFUSIONS
Tea, coffee and infusions will be subjected to certain manufacturing processes to safeguard their original tastes and aromas. Hence, a preference for whole tea leaves instead of extracts for the iced teas of the future, which will also shun the addition of sugar because what really counts is the natural flavour of the tea itself.
The same can be said of coffee: so, throw away any powders or freeze-dried products and replace them with coffee beans that have been only slightly roasted, if at all, for grinding, as you need them to ensure a more textural flavour.
LET'S DRINK ... LUNCH
Time is short and it is often a mountainous task to reconcile lunchtime with all other daily commitments. For this reason, "snack drinks" will become increasingly popular.
Does this topic remind you of the appetite suppressing drinks of the 1980s? Forget it. The new "drinkable meals" are delicious and healthy, as well as boasting many ingredients now riding the crest of the fine dining wave: linseed, quinoa, chia or buckwheat, for instance, go hand in hand with juices, fruit extracts and blends, pulses or vegetables, enabling you to fill up on fibre, vitamins and mineral salts.
OTHER DRINK AND BEVERAGE TRENDS TELL US THAT...
After years of unsteady and erratic performance, spicy drinks now seem to be enjoying a boom: juices and soft drinks mixed with cayenne pepper, chilli pepper, wasabi or ginger are increasingly popular.
Iced Matcha is also expected to sell well – only available, however, in tetra pack or cans, since light can alter the properties of this renowned Japanese green tea – together with plant protein drinks (spirulina, lentils, rice, soy or hemp for example), to respond more effectively to growing dietary needs, particular lifestyles (veganism etc.) and to an ever greater focus on environmental sustainability.