Forget wine matching: 'Sober curious' Millennials are pairing food with soft drinks

Wine has been paired with food for centuries, but as a new generation of health-conscious diners emerge, a growing number of people are swapping Sancerre for soda at mealtimes. According to new research1 commissioned by soft drink brands Robinsons and 7UP Free, well over half of Millennials (58 per cent of 18 -34 year olds) are shunning wine and choosing to match soft drinks with different food types to enhance aroma, flavour and texture.

With 57 per percent of the nation cutting back on alcohol and 1 in 5 now teetotal2; perhaps it comes as no surprise that meal times are also changing. More soft drinks are being consumed at home than ever before and for those cutting back on their alcohol intake, low-sugar soft drinks are known as being the preferred choice as an alternative to alcohol. In the past year alone, £71 million of UK spend has switched from alcohol to soft drinks.

In response to this growing trend, Robinsons Fruit Cordials and 7UP Free have teamed up with cook-at-home meal kit Feast Box, to create the UK’s first alcohol-free food and drink pairing menu featuring 35 dishes and numerous vegan options. Expertly flavour matching the soft drinks to a range of different foods and meal occasions, the partnership aims to solve drinks boredom at meal times and help keep sober-curious Brits motivated to keep going this Dry January and beyond.

Katy Watts, Food & Drink Pairing Expert at Britvic comments: “Food and drink pairing has been done successfully with wine, but for those who are looking to minimise their alcohol intake, it’s important to maximise the power of pairing soft drinks with food. Cutting back on alcohol intake provides the perfect opportunity to discover a wider range of soft drinks, with their varying flavour notes, intensities and textures. By expertly pairing a selection of delicious recipes from around the world with the different soft drink options, we’re aiming to make drink choices easier this month and allow people to try something new.”

“Pairing drinks with food can take a great culinary experience to the next level,” says Feast Box CEO & Founder, Jyoti Patel. “We’re excited to be able to provide the first curated food and soft drink pairing experience, in partnership with Robinsons Fruit Cordials and 7UP Free. Complementing your meal with the right drink can enhance flavours on the palate, providing the perfect partner for those at-home dining occasions.”

The soft drink partnership with Feast Box features over 35 meals which have been specifically paired with 7UP Free or one of the Robinsons Fruit Cordials, based on their individual flavour profiles.

Some of the food and drink pairing examples include:

Lemon Chicken, with Robinsons Crushed Lime & Mint Fruit Cordial - The lime may harmonise with the lemony chicken, but the real key here is the refreshment from the mint. Lemon chicken might not be spicy, but the prominent flavour and fresh garlic notes welcome a bit of balance and coolness that this drink offersCrispy Sichuan Duck Leg with Orange & 5 Spice sweet potato mash and Pak Choi, with 7UP Free - The lemon and lime tang cuts through the succulent flavour of the duck leg while harmonising with the citrus-laced sweet potato. Fizzy drinks excite the taste buds, especially useful for enjoying complex, layered spices like Sichuan pepper & Chinese 5 spiceVegan Mapo Tofu & Pea, with Robinsons Pressed Pear and Elderflower Fruit Cordial - As the most delicately flavoured cordial, the flavours of pear and elderflower pair perfectly with subtle dishes. The light sweetness of the drink cuts through the salty miso while complementing its fruity notes. The fruit cordial is also vegan, making a perfect pairing for those following a vegan dietIranian Adas Polo with roasted molasses and sesame beetroot, with 7UP Free – This dish offers something new in each bite, which means a refreshing palate cleanser such as 7UP Free can amplify the flavours. The creamy flavours of aubergine, rice and yoghurt especially benefit from a crisp, light, fizzy accompaniment

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