hands holding mug with black coffee

Pump Up Your Coffee Program

Is your coffee program ready for today’s trends and discerning customers?

It’s no surprise that the overall coffee market is growing. Driving this growth is the quality of coffee and the options for customization available to customers. New formats and varieties are emerging as coffee continues to resonate with consumers.

The increasing interest in specialty coffee drinks is creating an expanding market of discriminating coffee drinkers. While the quick pick-me-up isn’t quite a thing of the past, today’s coffee drinkers are more focused on finding the finest in flavor, aroma and freshness. Younger coffee drinkers in particular are influenced by the prevalence of coffee shops and come to expect the same quality wherever they dine. Staying out in front of coffee trends can be a critical factor in an operator’s success.

According to research at Mintel, cold brew coffee is the hottest trend in the industry with the coffee format experiencing steady growth since 2010, and sales rising 115% between 2014 and 2015. Considering that over the past five years cold brew coffee sales have skyrocketed a whopping 580%, estimated to be an 18 billion dollar business in 2020. Consumers have proven that cold brew is here to stay.

While cold-brew is growing, hot beverages are still a pillar of today’s c-store business. C-stores represent about 11 percent of overall hot-beverage revenue and rank fourth in hot-beverage segments, behind limited-service coffee shops, quick-service restaurants and full-service restaurants. The success of coffee sales outside of the c-store realm is not only driven by the growing number of outlets for coffee drinkers to get their fix, but also by coffee shops capitalizing on consumers’ love for customizing what they eat and drink.

Coffee is the perfect beverage for Millennials. Coffee offers expansive variety and the ability for almost endless customization, something that this newest generation of consumers have come to expect. No wonder, people aged 19 to 34 make up 44% of the world’s coffee drinkers.

What makes Millennials so influential in this recent boom? For starters, younger consumers are more likely to consume coffee out-of-home at a rate of 46% versus 26% of older consumers. Millennials are also the core contingency of today’s third wave of coffee brewing. This move away from traditional coffee to new trends is exploding in big cities and spreading in popularity among young out-of-home coffee consumers.

A strong coffee program is also a great pull-trough sales generator. Experts suggest utilizing bundling opportunities to increase both coffee and ancillary product sales. According to Technomic, “meal complement” purchases account for about 70% of overall hot-dispensed-beverage volume. Playing to the value and convenience that today’s consumers seek, bundling for breakfast is an effective sales strategy, especially among younger consumers. Technomic insights reveal that more than half of consumers ages 18 to 24 say that breakfast combo meals, often featuring a coffee beverage, are important offers at foodservice outlets and impact their decision to visit that operation. As c-stores upgrade their specialty coffee programs, they should consider pairing with gourmet breakfast pastries or breakfast sandwiches to compete with the bakery-cafes and QSRs that have similar premium offerings.

Partnering with the right coffee provider is the surest way to drive customers in for their daily cup. With today’s discerning coffee drinkers, the quality of the coffee you serve is the make-or-break difference on whether they continue to frequent your operation.

Dennis Paper & Food Service is partnered with New England Coffee and together we are helping our customers meet the demands of today’s coffee drinkers. New England Coffee’s roasters have developed and refined their roasting process to guarantee premium coffee beans with distinct smoothness and characteristic taste. Each variety of coffee bean requires a different roast time and their experienced roasters use both smell and sight to determine when the desired roast has been achieved. This roasting process has been a tradition at New England Coffee since 1916.

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NCA National Coffee Drinking Trends Report, 2017

Gourmetinsider.com, 2016
National Coffee Association
Content courtesy of Red Diamond
2017 Red Diamond Beverage Council
Bloomberg, Oct. 2016