Sweet Coffee for the Win

Consumers want sweet products for their at-home coffee concoctions.

June 08, 2022

Woman with a Coffee Cup

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Coffee consumption in the U.S. is at a two-decade high thanks to increased at-home consumption, reports Axios, and Americans are wanting the sweeter variety of add-ins.

There's been a "pandemic-caused meaningful shift toward in-home preparation" of coffee which should continue even as people return to the office, David Portalatin, a food industry specialist with The NPD Group consultancy, told Axios.

With more people working from home, coffee consumption after breakfast is up 15% since last July, and the younger consumer wants the sweeter products for their coffee that remind them of their childhood, such as Twinkie, Cinnabon, M&M's and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Plus, coffee consumption among 18-to- 24 year-olds is on the rise, with that age group’s coffee habits up 14% since January 2021.

Millennials are also wanting their sweet flavors, with the generation “driving the current, all-time high penetration of flavored creamers," Leonardo Aizpuru, leader of the creamer unit at Nestlé, told Axios. Taste is a purchase driver, he said.

Americans also want balance—plant-based and zero-sugar creamers are also in hot demand, while 19% of coffee drinkers drink it black.

"Surprisingly, many Americans don't love the underlying taste of coffee. In fact, 70% of consumers modify or cream their coffee to enhance the taste and texture versus drinking it plain,” Shane Grant, CEO of Danone North America, told Axios.

When coffee shops closed at the height of the pandemic, consumers found "they didn’t necessarily have all of the equipment and all of the flavors and ingredients to make that specialty coffee they were missing," Portalatin told Axios.

Two years later, he adds, there is still "some emphasis right now on, how do we help consumers recreate that specialty coffee experience and still do it at home?"

To lure coffee connoisseurs back into stores, distributors and retailers are reviewing their strategies for the hot beverage bar. Learn more in in March’s Category Close-Up article “Reheating a Once-Hot Category” in the digital copy of NACS Magazine.

NACS Magazine recently explored other coffee trends in “Craft Coffee Haven” and “Not Your Average Joe.”

For category managers of all levels looking to sharpen their analytical and decision-making skills, NACS offers two certified category management courses:

  1. NACS I Impact 21 Certified Convenience Basic Category Management course for newer category management and merchandising professionals from retailers and suppliers in the convenience and fuel retailing channel.
  2. NACS | Impact 21 Certified Convenience Advanced Category Management course uniquely tailored for experienced category management and merchandising professionals from retailers and suppliers in the convenience and fuel retailing channel.
More information is available here.