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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 3, March 2012, Posted On: 2/14/2012

Mintel: Coffee Drinkers Like Their Joe One Cup At A Time

Emily Jed
office coffee service, OCS business, Mintel, single-cup coffee, coffee trends, coffee drinking statistics, coffee pod, k-cup, single-cup coffee brewer, Garima Goel Lal, espresso machine, vending business

CHICAGO -- Convenience is the top factor driving 17% of coffee drinkers to opt for single-cup coffee, according to new research from Mintel.

The new study by the Chicago-based research firm suggests that almost 80% of those who enjoy single-cup coffee agree that they drink it because it's convenient to brew, while 60% cited the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot. More than half ( 55%) said they like the variety available in single-portion pods.

"Those aged 18 to 44 are notably more likely than their older counterparts to cite convenience as a reason for using pod-style machines," said Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel. "This is likely a reflection of the fact that for younger adults, coffee is often seen as an on-the-go beverage that can provide a needed energy boost."

In addition to convenience, flavor and value are also important to single-cup coffee drinkers. Thirty-nine percent said brewing at home with a pod-style machine is cheaper than visiting a coffeehouse, while 20% believe single-cup coffee tastes better than batch-brewed coffee. Some 38% say a pod-style machine produces consistent taste each time compared to coffee brewed with a traditional coffeemaker.

"A key driver of sales growth in the coffee category is innovation. The single-cup segment of the coffee business is driving growth and is likely to continue to contribute to gains for the foreseeable future," added Goel Lal. "Consumers in the U.S., the European Union, and elsewhere have been using espresso machines to make single cups of coffee for many years, and single-cup machines provide similar results." Goel Lal claims they are less complicated to operate than an espresso machine.

So why aren't more consumers using pod-style coffee machines? Price seems to be one of the main deterrents: 36% of those who don't drink single-cup coffee say the machines are too expensive and 30% believe pods are more expensive than brewing ground coffee.

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