Consumers may be strapped for cash, but as coffee shop sales have increased by 5% since 2009, a latte a day is an affordable essential rather than an unnecessary luxury. There were 1.4 billion servings of speciality coffee in the UK last year, which is still a long way short of Italy’s 5.3 billion.
While ‘eating in’ has become one of the dominant trends of the recession, the increasing popularity of stopping off for a coffee at breakfast time bucks this trend. “Breakfast visits” increased by 9% on average every year between 2009 and 2012. Breakfast now accounts for just under 20% of total out-of-home eating visits, with Brits making an extra 25.6 million visits each year compared to 2009.
And it’s not just takeaway coffees driving the growth. On-premises consumption is growing in popularity, with visits up 3.5% between 2011 and 2012. Time-pressed and quality-obsessed consumers increasingly see visits to coffee shops as a perfectly acceptable way to spend time with friends and family.
The surge in breakfast is great news for the likes of Caffè Nero. This is particularly important as snacking is slowing, and this is impacting some of the quick service coffee operators. So, the enduring popularity of coffee is compensating for the snack slowdown. But in spite of the coffee uplift at breakfast, all the branded coffee players are still feeling the impact of the slower snacking market, most notably Costa Coffee, where snacking constitutes 57% of all visits.