Trendspotting at The Healthy & Natural Show: Millennials shake-up uses of horchata

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Each 10-ounce bottle of Elmhurst Naturals' Horchata is made from a mixture of low-fat milk, rice, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Each 10-ounce bottle of Elmhurst Naturals' Horchata is made from a mixture of low-fat milk, rice, cinnamon, and vanilla.
Elmhurst Naturals, a line of beverage products made by Steuben Foods, has seen a growing interesting from millennials in its line of dairy-based horchata drinks. 

Elmhurst Naturals modeled its beverages on the traditional Latin American recipe of horchata that uses rice, low-fat milk, vanilla, and cinnamon, as the base flavor profile for its three refrigerated flavors: traditional, chocolate, and dulce de leche.  

“It’s more of what the Latin American community is used to in the US, but it’s also been embraced by the non-Hispanic community, mostly millennials,”​ Tré Reusch, director of sales for Steuben Foods told DairyReporter at the Healthy & Natural Show in Chicago.

Millennial appeal

“We’re capturing not only a profile of what the Hispanic consumer in the States likes, but we’re expanding to non-Hispanic consumers that are shopping internationally and using it many different ways,”​ Reusch said.

Steuben Foods has seen a rising trend in millennials’ interest in international grocery shopping and interest in rumchata, which stemmed from horchata bars, according to Reusch.

“They don’t see it as ethnic, they just see it as ‘foodie’,”​ Reusch said.

Horchata is being used as a mixer for alcoholic cocktails, according to Reusch of Steuben Foods.

'It’s become an ingredient’

The millennial age group is experimenting with different uses of horchata, by pouring it over cereal or using it as a coffee creamer.

“It’s become an ingredient,”​ Reusch said.

The horchata beverage is also being used as a mixer for rumchata alcoholic beverages or heated up in the microwave to make “hotchata,”​ an alternative to hot chocolate, Reusch said. 

Competitive edge

The focus on developing a horchata beverage stemmed from Steuben Foods’ specialization in low-acid products.

“One of the main reasons that allowed us to focus on this particular recipe is because Steuben Foods we’re a low-acid septic manufacturing company,”​ Reusch said.  

“We specialize in making low-acid products shelf stable that allows us an advantage with some of the other companies out there that can’t do that with dairy.”

Elmhurst Naturals Horchata is available at several major US retailers including Albertson’s, HyVee, Sam’s Club, Wegman’s, and can also be purchased on Amazon for an average price of $29.99 for a 12-pack.

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