Reports compiled in the last couple years indicate cold brew is a significant driver of growth in coffee sales. Has it run its course or is it a product in which office coffee service providers should still invest? 

Cold brew sales continue to grow 

The 2019 National Coffee Drinking Trends survey, which the National Coffee Association conducted in January 2019, suggests cold brew is still going strong. For example, about 20 percent of the 2,815 adults who participated in the survey said they drank cold brew coffee regularly or occasionally, according to the survey’s executive summary. Twelve percent of those surveyed had drunk cold brew in the week prior to taking the survey. 

MJ Tavella, vice president of marketing for strategic growth channels at Danone North America’s Away from Home, expects cold brew to continue to grow strongly, with more and more consumers trying the beverage. 

“Growth trends of Cold Brew continue to prove it’s here to stay and will continue to capture consumers with coffee forward taste and “craft” nature of the product and brands,” Tavella said. 

Cold brew continues to expand from its roots as a niche market primarily on the coasts to becoming mainstream with lots of new brands entering the category and across channels.    

“Consumers continue to seek it out as a way to fulfill their desire for a coffee-forward, craft taste experience and we continue to see the category expansion across all channels from grocery, mass retailers and foodservice to C-Stores,” Tavella said. 

She added that cold brew is here to stay as consumers seek a unique experience with high quality coffee-forward taste.  

“Cold brew’s success aligns with consumer’s continued evolution of the coffee experience – analogous to the craft brew category where consumers are avid connoisseurs interested in not only the ingredients, the source and quality, but seeking a higher quality, coffee forward experience – and that’s what cold brew is to these consumers,” Tavella said. 

Cold brew draws young people

In support of the continued success of cold brew, Mintel’s July 2018 coffee report concluded that certain age groups of consumers are particularly interested in ready-to-drink cold brew. Namely, those are iGeneration and Millennial consumers, who are more engaged ready-to-drink coffee consumers. IGeneration consumers are in fact more likely to try RTD coffee than brewed coffee, said Caleb Bryant, senior beverage analyst at Mintel, said in a September 2018 Mintel research synopsis

Tavella echoed those findings. As OCS operators seek to satisfy their customers, the operators who have included cold brew in their offerings have seen growth especially among 18-34 year-olds with higher household income, Tavella said. 

The National Coffee Association’s 2019 survey also found that cold brew consumption is higher among adults under 40 years old. 

“Coffee consumption among younger demographics is here to stay,” Tavella said. 

Cold brew excels alongside iced coffee 

Cold brew’s popularity, combined with that of iced coffee and iced, blended coffee drinks, boosts the overall success of coffee beverages, and it will continue to contribute to the evolution of the category, Tavella added. 

Tavella encouraged OCS operators to consider the demographics of their consumers when choosing which products to offer in order to optimize their categories and brand offering to fulfill consumers’ needs and desires. 

“There is definitely lots more opportunity as the coffee wave trends toward coffee craft and coffee-forward products with cold brew as the growth engine in the category,” Tavella said. 

About the Author

Mary Stroka | Associate Editor

Mary joined the AM/VMW team in January 2019 as Associate Editor. Her love of animals extends to her snack habits, as she frequently chooses animal crackers when they are available. You can reach her via email at [email protected] or at (920) 234-8145.


stok cold brew 500 59c2bf1b75cfe
Coffee, tea and hot beverage

STOK Cold Brew Coffee

Sept. 20, 2017
STOK® Cold Brew Coffee single serve is brewed low and slow to bring out smooth, full-bodied, coffee-forward flavor. We use a higher bean to water ratio of our Arabica-based blend...