Consumption & Trends

coffee trade show fireworks

Why we’re still seeing showy gimmicks at trade shows

Taking a gamble on showy gimmicks is an old marketing trick – an easy (but expensive) way for brands to stand out and grab attention. But for some, they highlight an uncomfortable disconnect with the harsh realities upstream of the coffee supply chain. Despite this, investment in party tricks continues to flow as a core strategy for brand growth.

vending machine climbs up mountain

Vending machines: The next stop for specialty coffee and RTD?

Specialty coffee vending machines might seem like a contradiction in terms, but specialty and premium coffee brands are turning to vending machines as new market platforms. Vending machines are getting a makeover as the demand for convenience and RTD products skyrockets. Vending machines could be the lynchpin the specialty segment needs to scale up across demographics.
Sweet drink

The fast-growing RTD segment is now banking on sweet coffee drinks

The RTD coffee market – projected to grow by 5.3% by 2028 – has huge potential for sweeter drinks. Gen Z - who have the highest purchasing power - want sweet coffee options and despite health concerns around sugar intake, coffee brands are listening.
worshipping golden espresso machine

Specialty’s obsession with novelty is compromising its commitment to coffee producers

A tension exists between the specialty coffee industry's insatiable appetite for novelty and exclusivity, and its professed commitment to improving conditions of coffee producers. Coffee farmers struggle as roasters chase quality and innovation at the expense of commitment. Meanwhile, coffee producing countries receive just 10% of revenue from the coffee retail market.
coffee concentrate poured into soluble coffee jar

Could coffee concentrates replace soluble coffee?

Coffee concentrates are no overnight sensation, but their growth is currently exploding, along with that of RTD. Soluble coffee remains in the lead in terms of convenience, but doesn't quite meet the rising demand for premium products and quality, especially with younger generations.

Why is Starbucks’ olive oil latte still around?

Where is Starbucks’ olive oil-infused Oleato range of coffees today, a year after its release? Despite its surrounding controversy a few months into its release, it's still around and ties into a gimmick-based marketing strategy that is less about the product, and more about brand premiumisation and differentiation.
party aftermath on coffee farm

Is the “origin party” finished?

The “coffee origin trip” and its parties have long been considered to be an iconic rite of passage in specialty coffee. Now, rising costs and shifting priorities mean travel is no longer an "essential" for businesses. And for those who can still afford to go, the purpose is definitely more focused on business than pleasure - for both hosts and visitors.
RTD and milk

How milk and coffee are consolidating to corner the RTD market

Dairy and plant-based milk plants and coffee brands are increasingly consolidating in a bid to tap into RTD coffee. As all types of milk lose market shares, brands are trying to hedge risk with product diversification. The RTD segment represents a lucrative opportunity for both coffee and milk brands.
third wave barista

The third wave generation is getting older — and specialty coffee now means business

Early "third wave" coffee business owners focused on novelty, networking, and building a brand. Today, those same actors have grown up, and their priorities have changed – and so has the industry's.
laptop and coffee

Specialty coffee business owners can’t afford to improvise anymore

For a long time, third wave coffee businesses were able to compensate for a lack of financial savvy with passion for the job, a great network and strategic marketing. Today’s challenging economy has made the business of specialty tougher and roasters and business owners must step up to the challenge by working on their business acumen.
luxury fashion coffee

Why luxury fashion brands are opening specialty coffee shops in China

In China, luxury fashion brands are opening specialty coffee shops within their stores in a bid to attract Gen Z and millennials – the main drivers of coffee consumption in China. This allows them to diversify their customer base and redirect clients back to in-person shopping in an era of online consumption.
coffee cup map

How multinational investment pushes coffee brands into new markets

Toby’s Estate acquisition by UCC Holdings Co. and expansion into the GCC market reflects a broader trend. Multinationals are seeking global expansion through specialty coffee chains by tapping into emerging markets with a strong demand for specialty.
red carpet coffee

Specialty coffee still has a reputation for being elitist. Will it ever go away?

Specialty coffee has historically been elitist. However, coffee's fourth wave is changing that with mass commercialisation. To be profitable at scale, the specialty coffee industry needs to move away from a niche commercial strategy and shed some of its elitism.

Why beer brands should think twice before entering the coffee sector 

More and more beer brands are venturing into specialty coffee based on perceived synergies. Opportunities exist, but beer brands will have to carefully consider the challenges of the coffee sector before entering the market. 

Coffee roasters are all rebranding right now. Why?

Today, roasters large and small are modernising their identity and imagery. This rebranding frenzy is fuelled by market saturation, and compensating for cutting corners on quality in a context of inflation. A brand refresh also helps niche brands broaden their consumer appeal and reach new markets.

Europe’s coffee market is complex and fragmented – too much for many roasters

The European market represents 24% of global coffee consumption, a great opportunity for roasters looking to expand internationally. But it's a fragmented market with entrance hurdles that require careful consideration.

Why third-wave coffee roasters pay less for coffee as they scale

The third wave of coffee was born out of an appreciation for improving quality, transparency, and traceability across the supply chain. As such, paying more for coffee quickly became one of the market’s core principles. But what happens as specialty coffee enters the fourth wave, widely accepted as the commercialisation of the sector?

The last few WBC winners have been quieter. Why?

The World Barista Championship is the most important event for baristas in the specialty coffee calendar. It makes sense, then, that winners are regarded with a sense of celebrity in the industry. However, recent WBC winners have been notably more quiet than past champions of ten or so years ago.

How coffee roasters communicate is changing

Since the late 2000s, social media has unequivocally become the primary method of how coffee roasters communicate with their audiences. But as specialty coffee grows and changes, so too does the way roasters talk to their customers.

Starbucks finally makes some money in Australia – what changed?

After a sustained period of low sales in Australia, Starbucks finally turned a profit in the region in November 2023. So, what changed?