Single Cup Specialty Brewers Meet A Growing Consumer Demand

Over the last decade, office coffee service (OCS) operators have witnessed a growing demand for specialty coffee beverage options in the workplace. Studies from the National Coffee Association (NCA) show that consumers today are much more particular about the types of coffee beverages they drink and how those beverages are prepared. And as consumers continue to use single cup brewers at home, the popularity of these brewers in the OCS industry is on the rise as well.

Operators are looking to combine consumer preference for specialty coffee beverages with the convenience of the single cup. More than ever before, single cup machines that brew specialty coffee drinks are meeting a growing need.

The growth of specialty beverages

Specialty coffee beverages consist of espresso-based beverages and can include items such as lattes, cappuccinos and mochas. The NCA reports that daily espresso-based beverage consumption rose from 13 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2014; a trend that continues to have an impact on office coffee consumption.

The Automatic Merchandiser 2013 State of the Coffee Industry reported that in the office coffee industry, drinks such as espresso and cappuccino rose over two percent in a single year to represent 5.38 percent of OCS sales.

Consumers prefer single serve

Not only have consumers become more particular about the types of coffee beverages they drink, but they are also changing preference for the way their beverage is prepared. The NCA reported a shift in the way American consumers have been brewing coffee at home, pointing to the rise in single-cup.  Fifteen percent of American households reported owning a single-cup brewer and those numbers are transitioning into the workplace as well.

Single-serve has been capturing market share from other OCS segments such as instant coffee, says research by StudyLogic. The research firm reported that in 2013, single-serve beverages grew to account for 32.5 percent of the OCS segment. StudyLogic predicts that OCS single-serve beverages will make over $1 billion in 2016.

Single cup machines that brew specialty beverages

Single cup machines that have the ability to brew individual servings of espresso and create specialty coffee beverages made with milk, sugar and even ice have been filling an office coffee service niche.

As reported in Automatic Merchandiser’s 2013 State of the Coffee Industry report, a driver behind single cup growth is the growing popularity of specialty drinks, which have increased sales of machines able to brew cappuccinos and lattes. Some machines able to brew specialty drinks saw a 2 percent increase in brewer placement from 2012 to 2013, with that number increasing each year for the last five years.

The growth of single-cup and the move towards specialty coffee beverages has created a need in the workplace for a more specialized coffee experience. Operators who can provide single-serve brewers that offer additional specialty brewing options have everything to gain from this consumer preference shift. 

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