Ready-to-Drink Coffee Poised for Growth

Bottled coffee experienced 11% growth as consumers expanded their drinking occasions.

September 03, 2021

Bottled Coffee To Go

CHICAGO—Ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee is hot right now, with new flavors in the convenient bottled format, the Beverage Industry reports. In general, coffee sales through 2020 registered double-digit growth in convenience stores and other outlets.

“The category currently boasts $10.8 billion in sales across the U.S., which is up 2.1% versus a year ago,” said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president and practice leader at Information Resources Inc. “Ready-to-drink and single-cup are the segments driving coffee growth, with 21% and 5% dollars growth in MULO+C in the latest 52 weeks.”

Overall, the U.S. coffee market posted sales 11.2% higher in 2020 over 2019, according to Caleb Bryant, associate director of food and drink reports at Mintel. Driving sales is the RTD coffee market.

“Ready-to-drink is the hottest coffee segment—driven by double-digit growth in 2020,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for BMC. “Once primarily a category dominated by single-serve packaging, ready-to-drink coffee in chilled, take-home format packaging has burst onto the scene and is driving much of the growth.”

Cold-brew coffee also has been selling well, with sales predicted to hit close to $1 billion by 2025, according to Statista. The German-based research firm noted that coffee drinks are attractive to millennials looking for an alternative to soda plus older adults seeking an energy boost, such as with energy coffee drinks.

The coffee market is forecast to top $18 billion by 2026, a 14.2% jump from 2020, driven by functional coffee, according to Mintel. “Functional coffee has been a slow burning market trend but one that is set to take off due in large part to the pandemic as 57% of consumers say the pandemic made them want to take better care of their physical health and 30% of coffee drinkers are interested in purchasing coffee with additional functional benefits,” said Byrant. “From immune support ingredients to anti-inflammatory ingredients, there are multiple opportunities for functional coffee beverages.”

To read more about coffee trends and what consumers are demanding in their brewed drinks, check out “Caffeine Fix” in NACS Magazine.

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8 at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on category management, including the sessions:

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