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By Sally Smithwick, Health & Wellness Content Contributor

Featuring three fantastic mocktail recipes including the Pink Paloma, Mocktail Mule, and Spiced Cola, courtesy of Festival Foods!

We are in the high season for vacations, weddings, music festivals, grilling out, and many other reasons like the Fourth of July to celebrate and gather with friends and family for summertime connections. While events such as these may traditionally include alcoholic beverages, Americans are experiencing a sober-curious movement with younger generations leading the charge. According to a recent study by NCSolutions, 34 percent of Americans are aiming to drink less alcohol this year, 28 percent have tried to “break up with alcohol” and 24 percent completely avoid alcohol.

To give you even more perspective, research shows that 15% of Americans said they would observe Dry January, a campaign that started in the UK in 2014. Also the widely celebrated recent new dietary guidelines from Mexico — praised by high profile food and health advocates  in the US, such as Marion Nestle — went so far as to recommend complete avoidance of alcohol. Sober life is also going viral digitally with 63% saying they heard about the sober curious movement in America on social media. A quick search on TikTok shows these hashtags reaching remarkable numbers: #sober (5.7B views), #soberlife (1.7B views), and #sobertok (1.3B views).

While the food industry has been watching this trend for a few years now and restaurants continue to add “mocktail” selections to their menus, the movement doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. For those retail dietitians that attended the 2020 RDBA Virtual Experience, you probably remember Red Bull’s fantastic session on exploring the fundamentals of mocktail mixology with a master mixologist and learning about trends of the intentional drinking and sober-curious shopper. A key takeaway from this session was that there are a world of ingredients for mocktail creations in many aisles of the supermarket — from produce to frozen, energy drinks to seltzer waters, juices to dairy and even coffee, spices and alternative sweeteners.

A shopper looking to make something like a Chile-Lime Pineapple soda mocktail could be found shopping for Serrano peppers in produce, frozen pineapple in the freezer case, peppercorns in the spice aisle, and then seltzer water in the beverage aisle. And don’t forget to tout those health benefits as well! There are also opportunities to meet all levels of budgets by offering recipes that don’t break the bank and ones that incorporate specialty ingredients like Saffron for Saffron-Rose Infused Lemonade, or specialty chocolates for alcohol free chocolate martinis.

The summer season is a great time to inspire your shoppers by offering your favorite mocktail recipes via your social media, in-store displays, or in your newsletters. As you work with your shoppers on their dietary needs, show them how to enjoy their leisure time and socializing booze-free. They just might discover exciting new sections of your store they’ve overlooked.

Thank you, Casey Wing, Registered Dietitian and Digital Content Specialist at Festival Foods, for providing these recipes to get you inspired!

Pink Paloma Mocktail
Mocktail Mule
Spiced Cola Mocktail

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