As Single-Cup Innovation Continues, OCS Gains New Respect; Specialty Coffee Roasters Aren’t Smirking Any More

Aug. 1, 2012

The upcoming State of the Coffee Service Industry Report will be one of the most positive stories Automatic Merchandiser will provide in recent history. Refreshment service veterans won’t be surprised to learn that a lot of the good news is being driven by single-serve coffee.

One of the most interesting findings is that while single-serve systems have improved in recent years and grabbed the consumer’s interest in a way never anticipated, innovation continues. While single-serve market leaders have established themselves, they aren’t sitting still. New systems, designed to give the end user more control over their coffee, are being introduced.

As much as the single-serve business has grown in recent years, the equipment manufacturers and coffee roasters continue to work tirelessly on improving customer experiences. Innovation continues in equipment workshops, roasters, tasting rooms and focus groups.

Single-serve has even grabbed the attention of the specialty coffee industry, which for years has looked down its nose at the OCS industry. The specialty coffee roasters and retailers initially smirked when they saw OCS providers introduce systems to deliver specialty coffee in the work place. Today, they are beginning to swallow their pride as they recognize single-serve systems are competing for their customers.

James Hoffman, a long-time champion barista and co-owner of Square Mile Coffee Roasters in the London, U.K., recently wrote an engaging blog in the Specialty Coffee Chronicle, a publication of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, titled, “Disruptive Innovation: Anticipating the Effects of the Single Serve Market.”

“With single serve-coffee pods, a large part of the specialty coffee community has been dismissive of their impact,” Hoffman writes. “We are confident that we can produce a better cup, and seem to underestimate these well-funded companies’ technological ability to close that gap.” To read the blog, click here

Hoffman is right. The leading single-cup providers in the U.S. continue to offer new and better products. Not to be outdone, the manufacturers of soft pod systems, having suffered a shaky start with their first offerings several years ago, are coming out with products they claim will deliver a higher level of quality and variety – at competitive prices.

The OCS industry has emerged as pioneers in coffee excellence. Refreshment service operators can take pride in this and go forward with the confidence that even better days lie ahead.

OCS has earned a new respect, and every operator who has shared in the growth is entitled to a sense of accomplishment. Just keep in mind that innovation doesn’t sit still, and make sure you’re staying in the loop as the future arrives.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association’s CoffeeTea&Water Event gets bigger and better every year. If you haven’t made plans to attend yet, there’s still time. This year’s event is Nov. 13 to 15 at the New Orleans Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, La.


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National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)

May 7, 2009
Executive Staff Carla Balakgie, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO Dan Mathews, NCE5, CCS, Executive Vice President & COO Bill Meierling, Senior Vice President, External Affairs...