Single-cup coffee not losing steam

by Monica Watrous
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PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. — The single-serve coffee market is piping hot, with U.S. sales of pod-based brewing systems up 8% at $930 million in 2013, according to The NPD Group.

“Pod-based machines have proven to be an important segment in the world of home coffee brewing, as a result of the convenience and simplicity in personalization that they provide,” said Debra Mednick, executive director and home industry analyst at The NPD Group.

Major players are exploring new opportunities to leverage the category’s explosive growth. Industry leader Keurig Green Mountain is set to debut two brewing systems within the coming year. The Keurig 2.0 offers the option to produce a single cup or full pot of coffee. The insight to brew multiple sizes came from company research: 80% of households use traditional coffee-making methods instead of single-cup brewing, and in households with Keurig machines, a fourth of coffee is made via another method, such as traditional drip.

Keurig Cold, the product of a strategic partnership with the Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, uses single-serve pods to dispense cold beverages, including carbonated drinks, enhanced waters, juice beverages, sports drinks and teas.

Other companies are thirsty for a share of Keurig’s success. Nestle S.A. recently announced the North American introduction of a single-cup coffee and espresso brewer. The VertuoLine system creates both American-style large-cup coffees European espressos, with a product range that includes eight large-cup varieties and four espresso blends.

Another forthcoming product brews both hot and cold beverages. ‘Cuisinart powered by Bevyz’ Multi-Drink System is a countertop platform that produces single-serve hot, cold, still or sparkling beverages. Equipped with an internal boiler, carbonator and cooling system, the machine reads sensors on flavor capsules to precisely dispense hot or iced tea, hot chocolate, coffee, juice, sodas, cocktails, soups, sparkling water and more.

As the single-serve coffee category continues to grow, more restaurant companies are entering the market with branded portion packs for the grocery channel. Panera Bread, Tim Hortons, Krispy Kreme and White Castle recently launched single-serve coffee pods for retail.
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