“Golden milk”, also known as turmeric latte, is creating a buzz in the healthy drinks arena. The drink is inspired by a traditional Indian remedy used in Ayurvedic medicine, haldi doodh, which is based on a mixture of hot milk and turmeric, and infused with complementing spices such as pepper, cinnamon and ginger. Golden milk owes its name to the bright yellow colour of curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric that also enjoys a reputation as a silver bullet for a wide range of health issues. In traditional medicine, turmeric has been used for centuries for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties, and it is also said to aid in digestion and weight loss.

Familiar in Western markets mainly as a ubiquitous spice in curries and rice dishes, turmeric is increasingly also recognised for its health benefits in this part of the world, resulting in the arrival of golden milk in the booming healthy drinks scene. The beverage is very much on-trend as consumers increasingly look for naturally functional ingredients, recognizing that their diets connect with the way they look and feel, as described in the Mintel Trend ‘From The Inside-Out’. Moreover, the brightly coloured milk taps into the Mintel Trend ‘Eat With Your Eyes’, which looks at how visual presentation is becoming ever more important in today’s social media-driven society. Both Mintel Trends have been predicted by Mintel in the 2016 Global Food & Drink Trends.

Germany leads European launch activity

In metropoles from London to Berlin, golden milk has started spicing up the menus of trendy cafés and snack bars, where it is positioned as a caffeine-free, yet energising and healthy, alternative to milky coffee and tea drinks, as well as smoothies. Modern variants of golden milk tend to be served chilled, and often replace regular dairy milk with plant-based alternatives, while also adding a dash of coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil to maximise the superfood appeal.

While still niche, turmeric latte drinks have also found their way into the European retail sector, driven by smaller brands positioned in the health and wellness field. Germany takes a leading role in product innovation, accounting for half (50%) of all golden milk/turmeric latte launches in Europe between 2016 and May 2017.

3965989-0_dcddb75469b                                  4729481-0_dcddb75469b

                              Austria: Sonnentor                                                                                           24/7 Delight
                              Ginger-Tumeric Latte                                                        Almond Drink with Turmeric and Vanilla

Austrian organic food specialist Sonnentor is one of the more active companies, offering a number of powdered golden milk mix varieties which are said to be based on an Ayurvedic recipe and require preparation with warm dairy or plant-based milk. Meanwhile, the emerging segment is fuelled by a growing number of plant-based to-go drinks, such as Curmil’s 24/7 Delight Almond Drink with Turmeric and Vanilla, which is described as a unique milk and smoothie alternative, offering full flavour and a powerful health boost.

Time to spice up milk drinks

Many turmeric latte recipes follow the principles of the Indian origin and use black pepper, which is said to boost the amount of curcumin the body absorbs, and to bring out the flavour of the turmeric. Golden milk innovation thus adds a level of complexity to Europe’s dairy and plant-based drinks category, in which the use of spices has been rather limited to date. Beyond turmeric, featured botanical flavours in beverage launches within the past year included the popular mint, as well as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, saffron, and pepper.

Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel. She specialises in delivering insights on issues affecting the German food and drink market, providing analysis across a range of food and drink categories. Previously Trend & Innovation Consultant at Mintel, Julia was responsible for providing tailored product innovation analysis and client support primarily to Mintel’s German speaking clients.

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