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Some 'at-home baristas' see single-cup coffee as costly, Mintel

By Ben Bouckley , 02-Feb-2012
Last updated the 02-Feb-2012 at 19:32 GMT

While single-cup coffee made using pods is still a popular choice among devotees of the drink in the developed world, recent Mintel research suggests that cost may be a barrier to further uptake of the technology.

While instant, ground or whole bean coffee were the most popular choices for the "at home barista", Mintel said single-cup coffee still had an audience, with 17% of coffee drinkers stating that they preferred the beverage one cup at a time.

Convenience was the big draw, with 79% preferring single-cup coffee upon this basis, while 60% cited the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot. Meanwhile, 55% said they liked 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.”

Flavour and value were also important for single-cup coffee drinkers, with 39% stating that brewing at home with a pod-style machine was cheaper than visiting a coffeehouse.

20% believed that single-cup coffee tasted better than ground variety and 38% said that pod-style machine produces a consistent taste each time, compared to coffee brewed with a traditional coffeemaker.

“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,” Goel Lal added.

She said: “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.”

But Mintel said that price was one of the main deterrents to further single-serve uptake, with 36% of those not drinking single-cup coffee saying that the machines were too expensive, while 30% believed that buying and using pods was more expensive than purchasing and brewing ground coffee.