Coffee drinkers, especially frequent coffee drinkers, consider availability of coffee at work to be “very” to “extremely” important. This was one of the findings of the research conducted by Harris Interactive on beverage consumption trends presented at the National Automatic Merchandising Association Coffee Service Education Summit in Cherry Hill, N.J. earlier this summer.
Another significant finding was that consumption of bottled water at work has increased dramatically over the past year, outpacing all other beverages. During the same period, coffee consumption held steady overall while there was a drop in soda/iced tea, hot chocolate/iced tea and specialty coffee drinks.
The Harris Interactive research reinforced some of the findings reported earlier this year in Automatic Merchandiser’s “Case for Vending” series, beginning in January. Automatic Merchandiser extracted some of the findings of the Harris Interactive research to formulate part 6 of “The Case for Vending,” specifically those findings regarding how consumers view the importance of beverage refreshments in the work place.
One takeaway from the Harris Interactive research is that in the past year, heavy coffee consumers are increasing their consumption of coffee and other beverages in the work place. The growth could be driven by the desire to spend less money on refreshments outside of the work place due to the recession.
The Harris Interactive information revealed that a cadre of consumers place a great premium on the availability of workplace refreshments. This finding supports Automatic Merchandiser’s report in January that a minority of consumers make the majority of vending purchases, and among this select group, vending sales have not declined as much as sales in other venues.
SPECIALTY COFFEE: AN OPPORTUNITY
The Harris Interactive findings concerning specialty coffee reveal an opportunity for refreshment service providers. The research found that specialty coffee consumption at work, unlike regular coffee consumption, declined in the past year.
However, the decline in specialty coffee drinks at work was likely due to a drop in availability, which the survey also found. The consumption of specialty coffee in all retail channels continues to hold steady, according to various industry sources. The lack of availability in the work place represents an opportunity for refreshment service operators to add sales.
The Harris Interactive research, which is based on an online survey among a stratified random sample of employed American adults, age 18 and above, was conducted in June of 2009. A total of 1,438 respondents participated in the survey.
COFFEE AT WORKS MAKES EMPLOYEES FEEL APPRECIATED
The research found that having coffee in the work place makes coffee drinkers feel like their employer cares about them, making them feel appreciated and valued at work, the researchers claimed.
The researchers further claimed coffee availability in the work place reinforces these employees’ sense of stability, confirming that they are working for a successful firm, which many feel is important in these times of economic uncertainty.
The research found that employees utilize coffee to manage their mental and physical states; it provides a boost of energy throughout the day, keeping them focused and on-task.
Conversely, coffee at work also can give employees a break from their workload and reduce stress. This ability to manage their moods makes them more productive at work, the researchers claim.
Given the heavier work loads that many employees are carrying with the recent downsizings and layoffs, the researchers claim refreshment service providers should not underestimate the value of beverages that make employees more productive. Employers are constantly looking for ways to increase productivity in their workforce. Employers may need to be reminded of the impact of coffee on productivity and, therefore, profits, the researchers claimed.
ALL COFFEE DRINKERS ARE NOT THE SAME