Room for growth

May 11, 2015

U.S. coffee consumption has slightly declined over the last year, but it still remains a top-beverage choice second only to water. In fact, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans drink coffee according to new research by the National Coffee Association (NCA). In 2015, the NCA’s National Coffee Drinking Trends report shows that 59 percent of respondents consume coffee each day versus 61 percent in 2014.

Good news for operators

Breakfast remains the dominant daypart where coffee is consumed, but that is changing. In 2012, 87 percent of coffee consumers drank coffee at breakfast compared to 81 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, there is a slow increase of coffee consumption in later dayparts. This shift could mean an increase of coffee consumption at the workplace.

There is also an opportunity for operators to provide hot beverage options that will increase employee satisfaction. Fifty-four percent of employees claim to be less than “very satisfied” with at-work coffee options. NCA research found that espresso machines and single-cup brewers continue to drive the highest satisfaction among locations. The desire for at-work single cup brewers and espresso machines, however, currently outweighs their availability.
NCA reported that in 2015, 71 percent of working consumers have a workplace coffee area, while 29 percent do not. It also found that having to pay for coffee does not meaningfully affect satisfaction with the workplace coffee. The study writes, “Employers who offer a less satisfactory brewing system might benefit from upgrading to a more preferred brewing system and asking employees to cover at least part of the cost.”

The consumer desire for coffee vending machines increased three percentage points over the last year, from 9 percent to 12 percent.

Gourmet coffee consumption down

After a spike in 2014, gourmet beverage consumption settled to 31 percent in 2015, compared to 34 percent in 2014, driven by a decline in espresso-based beverages and traditional coffee made with premium beans.
Traditional coffee made with standard beans is consumed by significantly more people over 60 years of age. Espresso-based beverages are significantly more popular among those 18 to 39. Conversely, an overall decline in non-gourmet coffee consumption is more pronounced among those 18 to 24. Coffee consumption among those ages 25 to 39 is down 5 percent from last year (62 percent in 2014 to 57 percent in 2015).

Consumption of tea remains unchanged, while that of soft drinks has steadily continued to decline.

Coffee preparation methods

Coffee preparation methods continue to be important and shifting. Drip coffee makers are still dominant in the market, with 54 percent of consumers making coffee through this method. Both single-cup and espresso brewing methods declined slightly from 2014, however, single-cup brewers are the second most utilized method of preparation.