ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Taco Bell is testing three Mexican-inspired flavors of iced coffee: Dulce de Leche, Mexican Chocolate Mocha and Sweet Vanilla.
The fast-food chain already offers hot coffee, regular iced coffee and iced cinnamon coffee, but these new flavors are being tested in Fresno, California, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The coffees are $2.99 for a large.
Taco Bell recently announced the return of Nacho Fries nationwide for a limited time and introduced Loaded TRUFF Nacho Fries for two weeks while supplies last. TRUFF is a Southern California hot sauce brand that was founded through a popular food and lifestyle Instagram blog called @sauce. TRUFF fries were tested in California last year.
The New York Times has reported that many people, particularly millennials and Gen Zers, don’t even consider ordering a hot-coffee beverage, opting for iced coffee all year long. In August, Starbucks reported that 75% of its drink sales were from cold beverages. The company said its customers are more likely to request add-ins to their cold drinks, such as syrups and milks, than they are to their hot beverages, which raises the price of the beverage. Starbucks also said that cold beverages are popular with Gen Z customers.
According to the National Coffee Association, coffee has reached record-high popularity with 18-24 year olds, with 51% having drunk coffee in the past day, surpassing the record of 50% set in September 2020. The association also found that 33% of past-week coffee drinkers buy coffee away from home at least four times per week, and another 56% buy coffee away from home 1-3 times per week.
After struggling significantly in 2020, hot dispensed beverage sales rebounded in 2021, according to the NACS State of the Industry Report of 2021 Data, but coffee sales remained the most impacted by consumer habit shifts and the slow return of the morning commute.
However, the coffee association reports that although out-of-home coffee consumption (28% of past-day coffee drinkers) has yet to fully recover to pre-COVID levels (36% in January 2020), coffee is making its way back to work, as 36% of Americans have an in-office coffee station (up by 20% since January 2022).
To read more about coffee trends and what consumers are demanding in their brewed drinks, read “Caffeine Fix” in NACS Magazine.