Association Study: We’re Drinking Slightly Less Coffee, But It’s Fancier

The National Coffee Association of USA's newest report on coffee-drinking trends shows that the traditional coffee-maker approach is losing ground to fancier methods and beverages. For one thing, the K-Cup is starting to gain major ground.

The coffee industry wants to make sure the buzz isn’t wearing off.

According to Reuters, the results of the latest edition of the National Coffee Association of USA’s National Coffee Drinking Trends study, released on Saturday, found that things are starting to dip a little bit. While a solid 61 percent of the people surveyed drink coffee daily, that’s down slightly from the 63 percent who said as much last year.

But it’s not all bad news for the industry, though—in fact, there’s plenty of good. Other highlights of the report:

Fancy coffees gaining ground: The overall drop in consumption was mostly predicated on the decline in drinking just plain, old coffee. While consumption of regular varieties of coffee dropped—representing 35 percent of what survey respondents drink, down from 39 percent in 2013—gourmet coffees and espresso-based drinks such as lattes are gaining ground with coffee drinkers. About 18 percent of the 3,000 consumers surveyed say they drink espresso-based drinks daily, up from 13 percent a year before. Meanwhile, 34 percent of respondents are drinking gourmet coffees daily, up from 31 percent a year ago.

The rise of the K-Cup: According to the association’s research, people also are making coffee in different ways. Some 29 percent of respondents said they had used a single-cup brewer in the previous day, a huge increase from 20 percent in 2013, while 15 percent of respondents had a single-cup brewer in their homes. Such pod-based brewers, made by companies such as Keurig, are cutting into the market for drip coffee makers, which 53 percent of respondents used in 2014—a sharp decline from 58 percent a year ago.

Are energy drinks a threat? At the association’s annual meeting last week, Kraft Foods’ Allen Whitehouse suggested that many coffee drinkers may be moving toward other methods of getting a perk-up, including energy drinks and sports drinks. Around 20 percent of respondents aged 18 to 39 consumed an energy shot or drink in the previous day, Whitehouse noted regarding the results. This, he said, presented a challenge for the industry. “This is important because these drinks largely address some of the same consumer needs that our beverages address among this age group,” he said, according to the International Business Times. Whitehouse noted that by understanding the drinks’ popularity, it could prevent them from replacing “coffee-drinking occasions,” he added.

How do you drink your coffee these days? Or do you? Share your take in the comments.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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