Mintel: US consumers find favour with single cup, pod-style coffee

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Instant, ground or whole bean coffee are the most popular choices for the at-home barista but single cup coffee still has an audience, according to new Mintel research.

It found 17% of coffee drinkers say they prefer their coffee one cup at a time and the most popular draw for single cup coffee lovers is convenience. 

Seventy-nine percent of those who enjoy single cup coffee agree they drink it because it’s convenient to brew. Meanwhile, 60% cite the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot and 55% say they like the variety available in pods.

“Those aged 18-44 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. 

“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.”

In addition to convenience, flavour and value are also important to single-cup coffee drinkers. Thirty-nine percent report brewing at home with a pod-style machine is cheaper than visiting a coffee house, while 20% believe single cup coffee tastes better than the ground variety and 38% say a pod-style machine produces consistent taste each time compared to coffee brewed with a traditional coffee maker.

“A key driver of sales growth in the coffee category is innovation. The single cup segment of the coffee business is driving growth and is likely to continue to contribute to gains for the foreseeable future,” said Goel Lal. “Consumers in the US, 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.”