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Slideshow: A refreshing take on summer beverages

KANSAS CITY – The dog days of summer are fast approaching, which means it’s peak season for consumers to reach for something cool and refreshing. New products are being launched from retailers and foodservice operators as innovators prepare for summer.

Millennials are displacing Gen Xers and baby boomers as the biggest spenders in the food industry, and companies are beginning to account for younger generations’ taste preferences, according to a report by Splash Beverage Corp. Younger generations of Americans are choosing to drink less alcohol than ever before, and companies have taken notice. Also, younger consumers are looking for a simple drink with some ingredients that are perceived as artificial.

Cann, a company that specializes in THC-containing beverages, has debuted a “social tonic” that contains THC and CBD. Its newest product, Cann Lites, contains 10 calories and no added sugar.

Similarly, non-alcoholic aperitivo brand Figlia launched its first ready-to-drink beverage. The company’s Fiore Frizzante is not made to taste like alcohol, so as not to trigger someone suffering from alcohol or substance abuse, according to the company.

Elsewhere, foodservice operators are turning to tropical flavors for their summer-inspired drinks. Auntie Anne’s has created three drinks that combine dragonfruit and mango lemonade. In partnership with PepsiCo, Inc., Taco Bell has added a dragonfruit flavored sparkling tea.

“Aunt’s Ann’s is all about empowering pick-me-ups for our on-the-go guests,” said Cynthia Liu, Aunt Ann’s vice president of marketing. “We’re thrilled to infuse new, delicious and fresh ways for our fans to enjoy their favorite refreshing fruit flavors with their favorite pretzels this summer.”

Click to view a slideshow of summer drinks.

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