Seventeen percent of coffee drinkers prefer their coffee one cup at a time, survey says; 79% of single-cup coffee drinkers drink it because it's convenient to brew

CHICAGO , January 30, 2012 (press release) – Most consumers would agree that their morning doesn't officially start until they've enjoyed their first cup of joe—whether they brew at home, at work, or stop at their favorite coffeehouse. While instant, ground or whole bean coffee are the most popular choices for the at home barista, single-cup coffee still has an audience, as recent Mintel research reveals that 17% of coffee drinkers say they prefer their coffee one cup at a time.

Not surprisingly, the most popular draw for single-cup coffee lovers is convenience. Seventy-nine percent of those who enjoy single-cup coffee agree that they drink it because it's convenient to brew. Meanwhile, 60% cite the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot and 55% say they like the variety available in pods.

"Those aged 18-44 are notably more likely than their older counterparts to cite convenience as a reason for using pod-style machines," says Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel. "This is likely a reflection of the fact that for younger adults, coffee is often seen as an on-the-go beverage that can provide a needed energy boost."

In addition to convenience, flavor and value are also important to single-cup coffee drinkers. Thirty-nine percent report that brewing at home with a pod-style machine is cheaper than visiting a coffeehouse, while 20% believe single-cup coffee tastes better than the ground variety and 38% say a pod-style machine produces consistent taste each time compared to coffee brewed with a traditional coffeemaker.

"A key driver of sales growth in the coffee category is innovation. The single-cup segment of the coffee business is driving growth and is likely to continue to contribute to gains for the foreseeable future," adds Garima Goel Lal. "Consumers in the US, the European Union, and elsewhere have been using espresso machines to make single cups of coffee for many years, and single-cup machines provide similar results, but are less complicated to operate than an espresso machine."

So why aren't more consumers using pod-style coffee machines? Price seems to be one of the main deterrents, as 36% of those who don't drink single-cup coffee say the machines are too expensive and 30% believe pods are more expensive than brewing ground coffee.

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