Cause-driven coffees also fit into this category. Organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance focus on conservation and ecologically-friendly farming, in addition to fair working conditions. More and more coffee roasters have introduced products that are certified by these organizations.
Overall consumption of cause-related coffees have increased significantly in recent years. While most OCS operators have not reported this to be a big seller, those that went out of their way to offer these products found there is a market for them. Roasters have added more cause-related OCS coffees in recent years.
Some OCS operators believe that being knowledgeable about such products enhances their professionalism.
Future promises more growth
Single-cup continues to drive the OCS industry’s sales. Given the fact that only a minority of locations are served by single-cup systems, it’s a good bet that these units will continue to grow in the next few years.
In order for operators to gain the full benefit of state-of-the-art brewing systems, they need to continue to invest in training and in salaries. OCS operators are learning they need to invest aggressively to provide the best quality service to a consumer that is better educated than ever about coffee.
The OCS industry, launched as a work site convenience in the 1960s, has grown into a specialized service. OCS operators have to improve their professionalism to compete against other retail channels that continue to increase coffee sales.