The Future of Coffee – How Consumers Became Baristas

There are few things greater than a freshly brewed coffee in the morning, but when lockdown hit the country earlier this year, many had to reassess how they could get their morning fix. Coffee brands were quick to make their beans, grinds and pods available for consumers to have the same coffee experience in their own homes. This rise in at-home coffee experiences, has, however, been slowly brewing in the background, with more and more consumers refining their barista skills to create their own signature cup.

With household food budgets being closely watched and tightened thanks to Covid-19 economic challenges, there is added pressure to cut costs where possible, and this can sometimes mean the beloved local coffee shop stop. This now creates a huge opportunity for coffee brands and even local coffee shops, to tap into the at-home coffee experience - a somewhat silver-lining to a category that has been put on the back-burner, particularly for the hospitality sector.

Lockdown presented a unique opportunity for people to hone-in on their barista skills and trial different coffee brands as well as experiment with various machines, techniques and flavours (noting a particularly popular frothy coffee trend - the Dalgona). Trends included coffee gelatin squares, at-home cold brew to put in granola, stovetop lattes, cold brew sangria and Irish coffees. So, consumers longing for a latte found solace in the beverage aisle.

Global coffee production is hitting record highs this year, and analysts predict consumption growth of 5-7 percent in the next five years. More importantly, the ready-to-drink coffee market is forecast to show 67 percent sales growth in the next two years, according to Mintel. The report also said the ready-to-drink coffee market is the fastest-growing segment within the retail coffee market.

"Nielsen Homescan data showed that Australian households spent an additional 37% on coffee from grocery outlets for in-home consumption in the four weeks leading up to March 22, compared to a year ago. And it appears that some consumers may be missing their local barista, with increased sales for more premium coffee options and growth particularly strong for coffee beans, premium instant coffee, standard instant coffee and ground coffee." - Nielsen.

Food innovation is seen to spike during times of crisis. Potatoes, for example, the food at the time typically only fed to animals, became a popular element in French cuisine as food prices skyrocketed and shortages were prevalent leading up to the French Revolution. Kraft's 'Mac and Cheese' produce rose to fame during The Great Depression which forced Americans to cut food budgets. Rationing of essential ingredients like sugar, eggs and flour were seen throughout both World Wars. The Prohibition equally saw as much food innovation and the 'mixology' movement with people creating their own flavoursome alcoholic beverages, often to mask the (often disgusting) taste of bootleg alcohol.

Although initially, grocery items were panic bought, the hard to find or more artisanal items were purchased as a treat or reward, rather than a need to survive. Coffee trends and innovation has served consumers as a stress reliever, removed uncertainty and created comfort. Something now that consumers will always seek, even as we return to 'the new normal'. Not being able to spend money on travel or dining out, means that disposable income is put towards premium products that exude comfort and reassurance.

"Relative to their spending behaviour across total grocery, households under 35 years old without children are the group most likely to have increased their spend on coffee during this period, particularly for premium instant coffee, ground coffee and coffee beans. It is likely that many of this group have shifted to working from home during the pandemic lockdown and are drinking coffee at home rather than picking up the flat white on the way to work." - Nielsen.

Understanding these consumer shifts can help food and beverage manufacturers and retailers in keeping shelves stocked, introduce more premium options, allow for collaborations and partnerships with local cafés, and cater to those consumers looking for little luxuries.

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New Zealand brand Shaky Isles for example are roasting robust coffee with character and flavour for those consumers that love their coffee, something the brand holds true to.

Founded in 2008 by a couple of passionate coffee lovers that created a coffee company that reflected New Zealand and the coffee the country was making as they saw it, with curiosity and a bit of mischief, but deadly serious about quality and flavour.

Over 12 years later, this is still what drives the brand, and the team now use the most advanced and innovative coffee roaster in the world, the Loring Kestrel, to help roast smooth and consistent coffee while still allowing strength and robustness, and most importantly, flavour that doesn't get roasted away.

Its Loring also allows the brand to produce amazing coffee that only uses around 20 percent of the energy traditional roasters use, while also only producing around 20 percent of the emissions. The team take that little bit of extra care in ethically sourcing its 100 percent Arabica beans from origins all over the world, to create blends that its Loring roaster makes mighty. Its technology ensures every bean is roasted evenly and every roast reaches its full flavour potential. This provides the ultimate consistency in bean quality and flavour, when matched with its foiled lined and valved bags, meaning the coffee arrives to consumers in perfect condition. This is why the team and its fans know it's the world's best coffee, made right here, in the Shaky Isles.

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IncaFé Organic Coffee is New Zealand's first 100% organic and fairtrade-certified coffee roaster and has been since 2007. The New Zealand owned and operated family business is proud to have been certified as carboNZero since 2008, with all its activities including its whole supply chain of the coffee beans from mainly Lima, Peru to the stores being CO2 neutral. It has won many awards at the NZ Coffee Festival, including the Supreme award.

Packed in 200g Econic Kraft compostable bags the brand offers now unique packaging without petroleum-based foil.

It also offers a unique, full flavoured organic- and fairtrade-certified Decaf coffee. The organic decaffeination process is unique in the world. It does not only leave more flavour in the coffee it also effectively reduces 99.97% of the caffeine content, which is well below the European standard.

When one of the Good George brewers said he was going to Raglan for a session the rest of the team assumed he was heading for an afternoon of, uh, listening to Bob Marley. Turns out he was hanging with the Raglan Roast crew working on a blend of the brand's flagship IPA and its cold brew Ethiopian Sidomo Coffee. The resulting brew has subtle notes of citrus fruit and lightly roasted coffee paired perfectly with the malt backbone of the IPA.

946ml squealer | 5.6%