Colder weather, colder drinks

Cold drinks are hot right now, and it’s all because Gen Z thinks they’re totally mother… are we using that right?  

What happened: Starbucks has prematurely dropped its lineup of fall beverages again this year. If the thought of drinking a piping-hot PSL on a hot August day churns your stomach, fear not—for the first time, three of the five fall beverages will be served iced by default. 

  • Cold drinks account for 75% of drinks sales at Starbucks, up from 50% five years ago. And cold foam, the iced drink topper, is the fastest-growing add-on. 

Why it matters: The shift to cold drinks is part of a larger trend of companies catering to Gen Z. This young generation makes up the greatest share of the world’s population and is gaining buying power as they enter the workforce, kind of (read: quiet quitting, lazy girl jobs).

  • Theories as to why Gen Z loves iced drinks revolve around their desire for portability, sweetness, and, Instagrammability (so drinks in clear plastic cups may be a bonus).

  • As your fave chains, brands, and stores try to chase the almighty Zoomer dollar, prepare for menus filled with colder coffees, lighter beers, and spicy chicken dishes.

Zoom out: And it’s not just Starbucks eyeing the cold drink craze. Cold drinks make up 40% of Tim Hortons’ Canadian drinks sales compared to 30% four years ago (all hail the Iced Capp). In the first quarter of 2023, Timmy’s cold brew sales doubled from the year before.—QH