As the weather heats up, consumers are looking to cool off with cold summer beverages. With natural food trends thriving, however, traditional cold beverages may prove less popular than in previous years. Shauna Seidenberg, category marketing manager of Dispensed Beverages at Alltown Fresh, shared her insight on where she anticipates beverages trends to lean this summer.

With organic beverage consumption expected to reach $1.7 billion in sales next year, and carbonated soft drinks as a category trending down, Seidenberg said beverage providers will need to embrace non-GMO and organically sweetened beverage options or face being left behind.

She expects natural fountain beverage alternatives, such as the Coca-Cola Co.’s new Odwalla Craft Ades — a new line of beverages infused with herbs, spices, and botanicals and sweetened with cane sugar — to thrive throughout the coming months.

As consumers raise the bar on what they put into their bodies and lean into label reading and ingredient knowledge, demand for functional beverage choices that offer consumers a benefit is increasing. Seidenberg said kombucha presents one way to accommodate consumers seeking more bang for their buck.

“Long gone are the days of empty calories,” she said. “Since launching earlier this year, our market has sold twice as many servings of tapped kombucha than bottled Coke.”

Rather than cooling off with traditional frozen beverages packed with sugar, consumers increasingly are recognizing smoothies as a quick and convenient way to fit an extra serving of fruits into their day. Coca-Cola, Krispy Kreme, Auntie Anne’s, and White Castle are just some of the companies that already have unveiled new smoothie options for the summer. Seidenberg expects offerings that are light, refreshing, and customizable to be the go-to beverage for consumers of all ages this summer.

With more flavor options on the market today than ever before, consumers are looking to try new things. The average consumer is more adventurous than past demographics, and summertime presents companies with an opportunity to appeal to this sense of spontaneity, Seidenberg said.

 “As consumers seek out flavors they’re less familiar with, limited-edition and specialty products —such as unique natural soda, kombucha, and juice offerings in flavors such as cucumber, sarsaparilla, strawberry sage, and mandarin cardamom — will prove to be successful,” Seidenberg said.