It’s 99 degrees outside as I write this — a record-breaking October temperature for Nashville — which feels really unfair since it’s technically supposed to be autumn, the season of cool breezes, scarves, falling leaves and pumpkin spice everything.
We know consumers love seasonal flavors — and new flavors — and nearly every operator I’ve spoken with over the past few months feels the need to offer a wider variety of products in vending, office coffee service (OCS) and, especially, micro markets. This includes new products, new flavors of familiar products and better-for-you items along with traditional snack favorites. It’s a lot, but it’s just one of many things operators need to manage in order to run a successful business.
In this issue, we talked to industry experts and members of our Editorial Advisory Board to identify the trends that affected micro markets the most in 2019. Multiple respondents said that the consumer demand for greater product variety was one of the year’s most impactful trends. Of course, this presents an opportunity for operators to gain larger revenues from customers who repeatedly visit micro markets to purchase different products throughout the workday, but it can also create challenges in managing a larger inventory.
One notable area of growth for the industry is the increased popularity of breakfast in the workplace. This trend is driven by employers who want to provide perks to their workforce while also encouraging them to come to the office earlier so they can enjoy a morning meal or snack.
We also chatted with Todd Carmichael, CEO and co-founder of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, who shared how he and his best friend JP Iberti started La Colombe 25 years ago. Carmichael explained why farm-to-table is as important in coffee as it is in food and why the migration from hot to cold coffee is the biggest “tectonic shift” to hit the coffee industry, including OCS. Carmichael will share more of his insight in his keynote address at the NAMA Coffee, Tea & Water (CTW) event in Anaheim on Nov. 18. (We hope to see you there!)
Speaking of cold, I hope that by the time this magazine reaches you, the weather has cooled and we can enjoy those pumpkin spice lattes and all the other seasonal treats that are available this time of year. Although, if the word on the street is true, you may notice more people drinking those lattes on ice this year, no matter what the outside temperature is.