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NCA 2008 Coffee Drinking Study Graphs Gourmet Uptick

Posted On: 7/26/2008

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NEW YORK CITY -- The National Coffee Association of U.S.A. has published its 2008 National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) market research study. Highlights of this year's edition include the continuing growth of gourmet coffee, with daily consumption jumping to an unprecedented 17% of the overall adult population (up from 14% in 2007). Total coffee consumers were reported to be 47% of adults age 25-39, matching this decade's high set in 2006 and up three percentage points from last year.

Among Americans age 25 to 59, gourmet coffee consumption surged to new heights in 2008, with 19% now daily drinkers. Dramatic increases over 2007 -- six percentage points among consumers age 25 to 39 and four percentage points for those 40 to 59 -- also are reported. Even among older Americans (60+), gourmet coffee drinking jumped to 15%, four points higher than the 2007 level.

Past-year penetration by coffee of the American adult population softened slightly in 2008, returning to the 80% recorded in 2005 and just under the 82% high set in 2006. Weekly consumption, at 66%, stayed above 2005's 64%, but showed a slight decline from 2006's high of 68% and 2007's 67%. Daily consumption also softened to 55% from 57% in 2007, but still far outstripped early-decade percentages that dipped as low as 49% in 2004.

In daily consumption, coffee drinking by adults age 25 to 39 rebounded to 47%, equaling the decade's high attained in 2006. Daily consumption among adults in the 40-59 age group held at the 61% high set in 2007. In the 60+ age group, consumption eased to 71% from 2007's decade-high 74%, coming in just above the 2005 level of 70% -- stronger than the 66% and 67% lows reported in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

After showing annual gains of four to six percentage points each year since 2004, daily coffee consumption by 18- to 24-year-olds dipped for the first time in this decade, from a high of 37% in 2007 to 26%, and stabilized at its 2005 level. This age group is particularly susceptible to a drop in consumption during periods of economic softness, according to NCA. Facing above-average levels of unemployment, below-average incomes and increased demands on disposable income (especially fuel), these consumers often forgo nonessential items such as coffee.

In 2008, the study revisited consumer attitudes first explored in 2005 and 2004 to determine whether these have changed since then and, if so, why. In response to the question "In the past year I have heard about the benefits of drinking coffee," 46% of those polled said that they had, compared with 37% in 2005. And affirmative responses to the statement "Coffee is good for my health" rose to 36% from 26% in 2005. The number of consumers who have heard negative stories about coffee and health remained unchanged at 58%.

The NCA has published the NCDT report annually since 1950, based on data obtained in an exclusive nationwide random telephone survey conducted for the association by a professional market research firm. For more information, visit the NCA website at or call (212) 766-4007.