Nothing seems to deter dedicated coffee drinkers from enjoying their favorite morning habit. Not higher prices, not long lines, not anything. Therefore, it’s always interesting to keep an eye on what’s happening in our industry as a means of forecasting what might be in the future. For 2015, we are paying close attention to a few significant trends.
Keep in mind that the office coffee environment is but one small portion of the overall picture. The trends we are seeing also apply to independent coffee shops, large commercial chains, and even home brewing.
The Single Cup Revolution Is Slowing Down
Single cup brewer systems have been experiencing an explosive growth rate for the past 10+ years. This has occurred despite the fact that people are aware of the significant price differential when compared with using an automatic drip machine or a bean-to-cup brewer. One particular coffee system has dominated the office and home single cup market with their wide choice of beverages and brewing equipment. In the office, there are now some excellent single cup options that offer a more eco-friendly approach. We are beginning to see these options gain momentum, even though there are fewer choices. Office managers aren’t running coffee shops and they know it. They can now offer a great cup of coffee at a more reasonable price, and still no clean up. Most importantly, they feel better about the environment and their employees are demanding more eco-friendly alternatives.
Furthermore, we are seeing a comeback in traditional coffee brewing methods using the “old school” three burner or a more updated version with a thermal carafe brewer. While there is some waste and coffee spilled out, the overall cost per cup is lower and the coffee options are totally up to the user. We are working with a small batch roaster in Brooklyn who uses Brazilian beans in a medium roast and the coffee is excellent. The coffee is sold in 5 lb. craft bags – you can’t get more eco-friendly than that!!
Greater Demand for Fair Trade Products
A fascinating survey conducted by PLOS ONE in 2014 clearly demonstrates a preference for fair trade products among individual consumers. The survey enlisted dozens of coffee drinkers in a blind taste test in which participants were told one brand was fair trade and the other was not. Despite both coffees being identical, 61% chose the brand they thought was fair trade as tasting better. The research also concluded that consumers are willing to pay extra to purchase fair trade products.
We expect the results of that survey to play out in sales numbers over the next few years. A rising political consciousness among young people is making free trade coffee more popular with this demographic; their numbers will only continue to grow as the numbers of older coffee drinkers gradually declines.
Office Support for Coffee Service
While workers generally prefer single cup coffee service, there are now lots of good options to consider. It is now possible to reduce your break room expenses and increase employee satisfaction. The key is to listen to your employees. It will be interesting to see where the industry goes over the next 12 to 18 months. At Galaxie Coffee, we are ready for anything.