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NCA Study: Coffee Consumption Holds Steady, Upticks At Home

Posted On: 4/8/2009

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Vending, Vending Machine, Coin-op, Coffee, Office Coffee Service, Foodservice, The National Coffee Association, Coffee Study

The National Coffee Association's latest survey on the nation's coffee drinking trends indicates that the industry has remained resilient in spite of the weak economy.

The 2009 National Coffee Drinking Trends market research study revealed that daily consumption of coffee beverages among consumers remained consistent with last year, with 54% of the overall adult population partaking. Additionally, cups-per-drinker and cups-per-capita, which includes drinkers and non-drinkers, continue to hold at the level of 2008 and the previous four years, but are up slightly versus 2003.

"Consumers still see coffee as an integral part of their everyday lives," said Robert F. Nelson, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association. "Even if economic conditions cause some to alter their coffee choices, they are nonetheless continuing to enjoy coffee at levels very much on par with recent years."

While daily penetration of coffee among American adults held steady, the data for past-week and past-year penetration of coffee are down from 2008, indicating that a small number of less-frequent coffee drinkers might have moved away from the coffee category. Weekly and yearly consumption each fell by 3%, to 63% and 77%, respectively.

Coffee preparation at home is up 5%, according to the study, with 83% of coffee drinkers reporting that they made coffee at home the day before, and 80% saying they did so during the previous week. Out-of-home coffee preparation is down 6% for each of the same time frames.

Similar trends are seen with regard to where consumers are drinking coffee. At-home consumption rose 5% -- now 80% of past-day coffee consumers drink coffee at home. This is the highest level since 2003. Consumers may also be taking their home-brewed coffee to go, as 10% of coffee drinkers surveyed who drank coffee a day earlier reported having coffee during their morning commute, continuing growth begun in 2007 and again matching a high set in 2006. At the same time, the number of consumers who report drinking coffee at work remained consistent at 18%, but fewer are consuming it in restaurants (5%) than in 2008 (8%).

After a quick drop at the start of the recession, the pendulum steadied for young adult coffee consumers age 18-24 in 2009 with 29% now drinking coffee in any one day, an indication that recent lifestyle changes have become ingrained enough to be maintained, even in a difficult economy. Although slightly up from 2008's level, the current percentage of 18-24's who drink coffee is still significantly lower than 2007's high of 37% that was attained after several years of steady growth.

In daily consumption, coffee drinking by adults age 25+ also shows stability, continuing for the most part to maintain 2008 levels, with those in the 40-59 age group essentially on par with the 61% high set in 2007 and 2008. Modest movement continued in the 25-39 age group, returning to 2007's 44%, which has alternated with 47% highs in 2006 and 2008.

Traditional coffee has retained its footing with consumers age 25+, showing no significant changes. Gourmet coffee consumption among older consumers has returned to levels typically seen over the past eight years, following an exceptionally strong year in 2008. NCA's study has tracked U.S. coffee drinkers' behaviors, habits and attitudes for more than 50 years.