Globally, around 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed around the world every day, and with consumption growing by an estimated 2.1% in 2018/19 from the previous year, this number is ever-increasing.
According to the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC), 68% of research respondents said they will often or always consume coffee during work. Research has also found that coffee was the drink most closely associated with productivity at work, with 43% saying they believed coffee improved their productivity over other beverages.
Alongside productivity, coffee culture in the workplace has become an important strategy for employers to boost morale amongst employees. Utilising ‘coffee breaks’ as a workplace ritual not only allows staff much needed time to relax but can also act as a place to share and develop ideas collaboratively.
As ‘procaffeination’ in the workplace is being harnessed by employers, what are the top three trend drivers for the office coffee industry for 2019? FoodBev found that many companies seek to offer their employees a variety of quality coffees with plenty of choice and sustainable options from the comfort of the office.
From espressos to macchiatos and flat whites to long blacks, the choice of coffee on the high street is now vast, and this consumer demand for choice is now being replicated in the office.
Richard Doherty, the founder of the Office Coffee Company, claims “there’s no escaping the need for choice as coffee drinkers are split in their preference”. A previous survey by his company found that in 2015, 47% of office workers were leaving the office during their day at work in order to buy coffee from specialist stores. Hence, there has been a rising demand for more artisanal coffee styles providing a wider range of options for employees from within the office.
Bean to cup coffee machines are one office solution employers are utilising. These machines have a coffee bean grinder installed onto the machine, allowing for cappuccinos, espressos and more to be automatically produced by a touch of a button.
In the UK today, just under half of all coffee drunk out of the home is consumed in the office environment, and according to Lavazza’s Jacob Ubaldi, the office coffee industry is worth 35% of the value of the UK out-of-home coffee market. Could this also mean that the implementation of choice through specialist machines for workers is feeding into the vast market potential of the UK office coffee market?
The average British person spends £303 on coffee each year, yet 44% of employees, according to Allegra World Coffee Portal, say their coffee is provided for free at work. If offices provide the same range of options and quality that a specialised coffee shop can, why would staff leave the office and spend money when it’s more convenient and provided at no cost? Many employers are essentially encouraging their workers to remain in the office – a low-cost solution to producing higher productivity.
Quality and premiumisation
Instant coffee sales in the US have declined from $949m in 2013 to $817m in 2018, whilst the UK has seen a 9% decrease over the same period. Meanwhile, the US saw an 18% increase from $11bn to $13bn and the UK saw a vast 84% growth from $569m to 1bn, according to Euromonitor.
Consumers are becoming increasingly conscientious about the quality of the coffee they are drinking. In fact, Doherty argues, quality is the most important priority for office coffee solutions, as the one thing office or facilities managers have in common is that they want their coffee to stand out.
According to Martin White, editor of Refreshment magazine, one of the most noteworthy trends affecting the office coffee space is premiumisation. Bean to cup solutions not only provide workers with the wider choice but also better quality coffee from freshly ground beans that is simple to make. However, one drawback to this is the high cost of these machines, which makes them unattainable for some smaller businesses. As a result of this, we are seeing more smaller companies choosing pod/capsule machines in order to provide easy-to-use quality coffee for a lower price than bean to cup machines.
On the flip-side, some larger more progressive companies have begun offering in-house skilled baristas to work in their offices, reflecting increasingly sophisticated tastes. Jeffrey Young, CEO of the Allegra World Coffee Portal, has said “employers have to up their game”in order to keep up with the beverage options provided on the high street.
This ultra-premium solution is indicative of a shift in café culture. Employers are now seeking to provide relaxed environments to make employees feel more comfortable at work, meaning, café culture is now occurring inside the workplace.
Mintel lists sustainability as one of the top trends in its ‘Global Food and Drink Trends of 2019’ report. Consumers across the whole of the food and beverage industries have been making conscious efforts to think about the sustainable impact of their purchases.
Employers choosing sustainably sourced coffee that is ethically sourced is one of the ways we are seeing the office coffee industry aligning with these trends. Making moves such as scrapping single-use coffee cups and encouraging reusable coffee containers in the workplace are only the first steps.
As previously mentioned, sales of pod/capsule coffee machines are booming. However, the downside to these machines is their unsuitability for larger companies. If there are too many employees to provide coffee to, it would need to be restocked too much. In this case, the ‘one machine does it all’ approach is seemingly the most sustainable option for larger companies with more employees to be served.
According to Eco&Beyond, due to an intensive manufacturing process and the amount of waste left after usage, most coffee pod machines are not environmentally friendly. This said, however, we are in fact seeing an increasing number of sustainable pods being released, one example being Nespresso committing exclusively to responsibly sourced and certified aluminium for its coffee capsules.
Studies have shown that the consumption of caffeine in the workplace can promote creativity, increase concentration and even prevent accidents in the workplace. So itis no surprise that employers are taking measures to ensure the accessibility of coffee for their workers.
Refreshment editor Martin White states: “many of today’s consumers are not satisfied with having the traditional instant coffee, and businesses are progressively investing in premium solutions such as capsule-based or bean-to-cup coffee machines as a way to boost staff morale and productivity.” For many progressive companies, the days of instant coffee are gone, as they seek to provide choice, quality and premium options for employees with the office.
Rather than employees spending time and money queueing at coffee shops – which also adds to the problem of single-use cups – employers are providing quality coffee options in the office and ultimately giving workers incentives to stay.
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