Winter Chills Iced Coffee Drinkers

Jan 2, 2014|

Winter is a time for ice. Ice hockey, ice sculptures, ice fishing and iced coffee? Yes, coffee belongs on that list of traditional winter items according to the latest trends. In recent years, U.S. consumers have been ordering more and more of the cold-served beverage at restaurants and coffee houses all year long.

According to market research firm Mintel, one in five Americans drink iced coffee, with young adults aged 18 to 24 the heaviest consumers. Mintel data also shows that iced coffees share of all coffee on menus at U.S. restaurants and coffee houses increased from 19 percent to 22 percent between 2009 and 2012. In addition, in the first three months of 2013, its share jumped to 24 percent, indicating that interest in iced coffee goes well beyond summertime.

Cold coffee, especially frozen-blended, has become very trendy in major U.S. cities such as New York, but it is more than just a momentary fad. Its usage has been building for the last few years and actually reflects the changing tastes of the younger generation. This new cohort craves indulgence and have grown up drinking sweet-tasting, refreshing soft drinks. They are looking for this taste profile to be reflected in hot beverages, said Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel.

Demand for iced coffee is becoming increasingly popular in the ever-growing PM Snack category. According to research firm NPD, nearly 25 percent of iced coffee consumption takes place after 1 p.m. and the firm projects that number to potentially increase by seven percent in the coming year.

To further illustrate the growing year round appeal of iced coffee, NPD predicted up to an 11 percent increase in foodservice orders per 100 in the first quarter of the year (January-March). What is driving this iced coffee surge? They concur with Mintel in citing the younger generation. According to NPD, 62 percent of iced coffee consumption comes from consumers age 18-49.

Like its hot counterpart, iced coffee is a versatile beverage which allows consumers to have it as they like it. To match iced coffee demand in cold-weather, restaurants are brewing up a host of iced, caffeinated drinks ideal with meals, as snacks or as dessert beverages. To truly customize it, operators are brewing traditional iced coffee and then adding flavored syrup in seasonal varieties such as gingerbread and peppermint.

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