Morning, noon or night, consumers enjoy coffee. Often it’s for the boost of energy from the inherent caffeine. Other times it is simply for refreshment or even socialization. And increasingly, the form of coffee being enjoyed is in a ready-to-drink (R.-T.-D.) format, whether it’s a bottle, a can or even a chilled sealed cup.
During the five-year period from 2010 through 2014, U.S. volume sales of R.-T.-D. coffee sold through all channels increased 48%, from 50.6 million gallons in 2010 to 89.7 million gallons at the end of 2014, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., New York.
Chicago-based Mintel explained that although the R.-T.-D. coffee segment remains small in comparison to roasted and single-cup segments — about 15% of retail sales in 2015 — its popularity with coffee drinkers is growing.
“Growth is expected to continue through 2020, with the chance for additional gains as consumers increase their R.-T.-D. coffee volume consumption,” said Elizabeth Sisel, beverage analyst at Mintel in the market research firm’s recently published “U.S. coffee 2015” report. “The majority of consumers are coffee drinkers and they drink a wide variety of formats. The category has great opportunity for growth as consumer interest in the beverage stays strong, as long as the category continues to evolve to meet drinker preferences and needs.”
The report states premium and artisanal brews, indulgent flavors and better-for-you formulations all have the opportunity to positively impact growth. Manufacturers must never forget that when it comes to R.-T.-D. coffee drinkers, flavor is the most important driver when making a purchase, as it is with all foods and beverages. This is why coffee ingredient selection is paramount.