Beverage Industry

Growing preference for coffee one cup at a time, survey finds

January 30, 2012

Instant, ground or whole bean coffee are still the most popular choices for the at-home consumer, but 17 percent of drinkers prefer single-cup coffee, according to a survey by Mintel Group Ltd., Chicago.

Convenience is the most popular draw with 79 percent of single-cup coffee drinkers indicating it as a preference. Sixty percent cite the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of re-heating a full pot of coffee, and 55 percent indicate that they like the variety available in pod formats.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

Thirty-nine percent of consumers reported that brewing at home with a pod-style machine is cheaper than visiting a coffeehouse, while 20 percent believe single-cup coffee tastes better than the ground variety and 38 percent 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,” Goel Lal said. “The single-cup segment of the coffee business is driving growth and is likely to continue to contribute gains for the foreseeable future. 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, but are less complicated to operate than an espresso machine.”

The survey also found that 36 percent of consumers do not use pod-style coffee machines because they think the machines are too expensive, and 30 percent believe pods are more expensive than brewing ground coffee.