Single-serve coffee drinkers switch out of convenience

Convenience and taste are continuing to drive up demand for single-cup coffee in the US, as new market research reveals that 17 percent of coffee drinkers say they prefer to get their morning cup of joe from a pod-style machine.

According to a market research study announced January 30 by Mintel, of the single-brew coffee lovers about 80 percent said they switched over out of convenience, while 60 percent said they converted because of its ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot.

More than half -- or 55 percent -- also said they like the variety of pods.

Meanwhile, a separate report from Packaged Facts published in December found that single-serve coffee formats -- "a category scarcely worth tracking five years ago" --  now accounts for 7.5 percent of all coffee sales in the US at the expense of instant coffee.

The Packaged Facts report likewise found that 21 percent of US households that brew their own coffee own a pod-style coffeemaker and that 18 percent use it regularly.

According to a recent market update from Euromonitor last week, meanwhile, single-serve coffee is most popular among coffee drinkers in France, followed by Germany and Italy.

There also seems to be a generational divide when it comes to single-serve machines, as Mintel analysts found that US consumers aged 18-44 are more likely than their older counterparts to use them out of convenience.

"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," explained Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel in a release.

And while the single-cup market in the US is dominated by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the Keurig K-Cup brewing system, Wal-Mart's plans to sell the Esio Beverage System, which can brew both hot and cold drinks, may prove to be a buzzkill for other dominant players like Tassimo and the Nespresso.

Though single-serve coffee is making strong headway among consumers, ground coffee still makes up the most popular retail product, accounting for 60 percent of sales.

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