Coffee fads have come and gone through the years, whether blends, brands, flavors, filters, grinders or brewers. Although the advent of single-serve portion packs and brewing systems initially seemed cost-prohibitive, consumers latched on to the convenience, spurring unprecedented growth and a hotbed of innovation.
In "Coffee – Single-Serve Brewing Continues Upward Trend," a free Report from SupplySide Beverage Insights, Bill VandenBygaart, vice president business development at Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, details the surge in popularity of single-serve brewing, noting there’s still room for growth. As additional brewers compatible with the K-Cup® single-serve format continue to come into the market, both for in-home use and the workplace, the increased competition is driving innovation and consumer choice.
While the expiration of competitive patents in 2012 contributed to growth in the category, the reality is many of the cup technologies for these brands are very different and would have made a significant impact in the market regardless of any patents.
Many retailers have used their entry into single-serve coffee to showcase their brand and reinforce the product quality and variety central to their brand's integrity. Whether it’s through flavors, organic or certified coffees, or tea blends that taste as good as or better than a traditionally brewed cup, the expansion of retailer brands has been a significant driver of growth for single-serve brewing. Smaller brand owners are also finding their place in the niche.
It’s hard to imagine this breakneck pace continuing in single-serve; however, the next two years will be even more dynamic than the previous two. Sustainability will be a major focus for the industry. The issue of a capsule’s end-of-life is real for consumers and will need to be addressed.
More great new product innovation will also emerge for single-serve brewing, whether that's through high-quality brands, flavored coffees, teas or wellness components.