With a grown regional and 0.0-permille range: This is how beverage gastronomy starts into the warm season. From the service robot to the zero-waste app: Beverage wholesalers, the hospitality industry and suppliers use the new variety of digital possibilities…. Lothar Menge, Managing Director of the tech start- up kollex , presents the summer trends for 2022
Summer is in the starting blocks. The gastronomy opens its outdoor areas to welcome hungry and thirsty guests. From Local Exotics to Zero Waste, these trends are a must for those who want to be prepared for a busy season. kollex managing director Lothar Menge shows the four major summer trends for the beverage wholesale trade, the hospitality industry and logistics.
1. Local exotics: Rhineland quinoa, Berlin kombucha, Alpine caviar & Co.
Lockdowns and delivery bottlenecks have not only further increased the importance of local food production, but have also awakened a new longing for culinary discoveries and exotic delights. Local Exotics promise to resolve this contradiction. Breeding exotics locally – that’s what the term is all about.
How can exciting overseas products be grown in local areas, long transport routes avoided and emissions reduced? Resourceful fruit and vegetable growers in Germany and Austria are dealing with this question.
In the Rhineland, for example, around 60 farmers grow quinoa and produce 7,000 tons of the gluten-free superfood grain, which originally comes from the Andes. Local exotics in the form of shiitake mushrooms can also be found in Coswig, Saxony: interested parties can adopt blocks of shiitake mushrooms and take part in a sustainable crowd farming project. The sustainability trend has also arrived in the capital: a Berlin manufacturer produces kombucha tea fungus cultures and sells them online.
Our southern neighbor is way ahead when it comes to local exotics. Only one of many producers of this type is in the Upper Austrian Steyr Valley: There, sturgeon and sterlet fish swim in the crystal-clear spring water from the mountains and produce fine caviar directly from the Alps. In addition to caviar, wasabi, ginger, rice and watermelon are also grown in special regions of Austria.
“If you want to surprise your guests in a positive way, you have to be creative. Provide variety, inspire your guests and most importantly: take their values to heart. Nobody can ignore the topic of sustainability anymore,” advises Lothar Menge, Managing Director of kollex.
2. E-Food & Beverage and Service Robots
From delivery and pick-up services to process optimization in the kitchen to digital ordering of goods:
“One answer to the increasing need for personnel in the summer is digitization. More and more restaurateurs are saying goodbye to paperwork and are finding more time for their guests thanks to smart software in the front and back offices.”, says Lothar Menge, Managing Director kollex
And beyond that: some tech-savvy hosts in Germany have recently started using artificial intelligence (AI) such as the BellaBot. The boxy robot with a kitten look whirrs through the factories, can be loaded with glasses and plates in order to drive them to the tables to be served and transports dishes back to the kitchen. “This can be a significant relief for the employees: inside and, incidentally, such a robot is also a real attraction,” says Menge. Restaurateur Tim Bornewasser from the Hafenrestaurant Grömitz reports: “My two service robots improve the working conditions and ensure that I can pay my employees better wages”.
If the introduction of AI still seems too futuristic, you can start small: “Using QR codes, food and drink menus can be accessed digitally and even ordered. This saves operators walking distances and speeds up processes. The vast majority of guests and employees are grateful for such practical digital solutions,” says Menge.
3. Zero waste and plant based
The central motto of sustainable consumption this summer is Zero Waste.
“It’s about the idea of not just reusing or recycling waste or apparent waste, but avoiding it as much as possible.”, says Lothar Menge
The first step is to order goods according to your needs. Anyone who, despite conscientious shopping, still has flawless groceries left over at the end of the day and wants to save them from the bin, reaches for their smartphone. Apps like Too Good To Go or ResQ Club localize where leftovers in restaurants, cafés and bakeries are to be saved – and give interested parties the opportunity to pick them up. This offer is currently limited to major cities. “Such meaningful initiatives to save food will also spread in rural areas,” Menge is sure. There are also hardware solutions for the zero waste trend, such as composting machines. The Berlin Zero Waste Restaurant Frea, for example, operates such a metal device into which all the food leftovers on the plates end up. Within 24 hours, it turns organic waste into dark soil.
Anyone who also relies on a plant-based menu with organic products reduces their ecological footprint. Many Zero Waste companies are leading the way by giving vegetarian and vegan dishes the leading roles and taking them out of the corner of alternatives to meat, fish and dairy products. “That goes down particularly well with a young audience that lives consciously and feels responsible for saving resources,” says Menge.
4. Liquid Revolution
Liquid Evolution is the buzzword of the summer. For a number of years now, it has been apparent that Generation Z in particular is less likely to consume alcoholic beverages. Instead, non-alcoholic alternatives are enjoying increasing popularity. In particular, sparkling wine, wine and spirits such as gin with zero rotations are in demand like never before and are taking up more and more space on supermarket shelves. “The hospitality industry should also react to this. Outstanding non-alcoholic beers with their tasty and isotonic variants are, of course, an integral part of most drinks menus. Now it’s time to integrate sparkling wine, wine and spirits into the non-alcoholic range. After all, the demand is there,” emphasizes Menge.
Soft drinks are trendy. This is also shown by the fact that they are increasingly being marketed by influencers. The rapper and YouTuber Shirin David launched the iced tea DirTea with the Krombacher subsidiary Drinks & More. Whether promoted in the social channels of celebrities or homemade – 0.0 per thousand is the trend for spritzers, vitamin drinks, kombucha, non-alcoholic spirits, sparkling wine and wine.
View: enjoying drinks 2.0
Keeping up to date with the summer trends in the gastro world paves the way for a successful season. This includes a greater variety of non-alcoholic options and locally produced food and drinks. The opportunities offered by digital innovations range from service robots to food rescue apps – there have never been so many opportunities for e-food & beverages. Now it’s time for beverage wholesalers, gastronomy and suppliers to continue to digitalize this summer and to find the way that best suits the respective requirements. Menge advises courage to change: “The hospitality industry has proven, not least during the crisis: innovation is what makes it different – restaurateurs keep reinventing themselves and their offerings. And that’s the key to success.”