Cups of comfort!
With hybrid working having become the norm for many office workers post-pandemic, there’s no greater ‘little luxury’ than enjoying a quality barista-style coffee or refreshing tea from the comfort of one’s home, which is why it’s vital not to disappoint customers by ensuring a wide range of their favourite brands and formats, writes Gillian Hamill
29 September 2023
The continued trend of greater working-from-home and hybrid working post-pandemic for many employees, is continuing to boost Ireland’s hot beverage sales. Indeed, last year, grocery market share figures from Kantar in Ireland, for the period ending 20 March 2022, showed that “hybrid working means sales of hot beverages shot up by 23% over the latest period compared with pre-pandemic when we spent a lot more time in the office.”
Another major trend which has affected Ireland’s coffee sector in recent years is the increasing use of coffee machines and subsequently, coffee pods. In a report on Ireland’s coffee sector published in December 2022, Euromonitor International stated: “Fresh ground coffee pods and fresh coffee beans are expected to be the decisive victors in the coffee category in Ireland in 2022, with the highest and second-highest retail volume and current value growth rates; a performance which has been repeated since 2008. One reason for the success of fresh ground coffee pods is the format’s convenience, and ability to offer consistent, high-quality brews.”
Despite the increased usage of coffee pods however, instant coffee also remains a hugely significant sector. With over 75% of in-home coffee cups made using pure soluble products, and the instant coffee category worth €97m*, there is still demand for ‘great tasting coffee in the home’. The key for retailers therefore is to tick all boxes, with a strong range of instant coffee, coffee beans and coffee pods. What’s more, Euromonitor highlights that innovation in functional coffee is set to increase. “The trials and exploration of coffee which defined the last three years will continue to benefit the category in Ireland in both retail current value and volume terms in the forecast [five-year] period. Experimentation with exotic flavour profiles has meant brands are innovating their product offerings,” Euromonitor stated.
While the premiumisation of the coffee sector has attracted greater attention in recent years, tea remains a core performer within Ireland’s hot beverages category. The leading brand names continue to have a loyal customer base and key players have worked hard to improve sustainability across their product portfolios and overall business. According to a specific report on tea in Ireland by Euromonitor International, green tea is continuing to perform strongly in both retail volume and current value terms. “Historically, green tea has enjoyed the perception of being better for health than black tea, as it contains less caffeine. Indeed, caffeinated options continue to be desired, yet cutting down is a key focus for many consumers. This is in line with the rise in the health and wellness trend since the pandemic,” Euromonitor states. Other fruit and herbal teas are also increasingly piquing consumers’ interest and helping to drive sales.
A recent report by Mintel entitled ‘UK Tea and Other Hot Drinks Market Report 2021’ revealed a number of interesting statistics which reflect trends in the Irish market. Mintel found that 53% and 50% of people think there should be a wider range of lower sugar and lower calorie variants of hot chocolate and malted drinks, respectively. Meanwhile, 38% of tea drinkers are interested in tea that helps de-stress/calm users. However, only 7% of launches presented stress and sleep benefit claims, showing further innovation potential within this area.
Looking at the future of the sector, Mintel reports that there is evidence that consumers are looking for ways to manage their emotional wellbeing, and seeking out new ways of staying calm and unwinding. Mintel states that innovations into the calming effects of hot drinks could prove valuable to the hot drinks market going forward.
A moment of indulgence
Kenco, the €19m coffee brand, is expanding its core instant range with a Gold Indulgence variant that offers a more premium and indulgent coffee experience.
The launch comes as the brand continues to celebrate its centenary year, with celebrations already in full flow in grocery stores.
Gold Indulgence will join Kenco’s core range line-up, bringing a new instant coffee proposition to the category. The blend uses a combination of both medium and dark roasted coffee beans, which is said to create a luxurious and aromatic coffee flavour with notes of dark fudge and a velvety feel.
The brand noted that with over 75% of in-home coffee cups made using pure soluble products, and the instant coffee category worth €97m*, there is still demand for ‘great tasting coffee in the home’.
The new Gold Indulgence line looks set to have strong shopper appeal, having scored in the top 10% of all NPD tested in UK, offering retailers the opportunity to drive incremental growth to the category through its core range.
*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel MAT to 6 August 2023)
Brewing up a great collaboration
Maxol has announced a five-year contract with one of Ireland’s leading coffee and tea companies, Bewley’s. Valued at €10 million, the contract includes 270 tonnes of coffee beans exclusively sourced for Maxol by Bewley’s, and the installation of new coffee machine equipment in 72 Maxol company owned stores.
The multi-million Euro deal between two of Ireland’s leading, family-owned companies followed a competitive tender involving four companies. The partnership will also see the introduction of two new variants across an initial 20 Maxol stores: iced coffee and oat milk coffee.
As part of the contract, 130 coffee machines will be replaced, units will be upgraded and new digital screens will be installed and, for the first time, selected Maxol stores will offer customers iced and oat milk coffees.
Bewley’s supported the roll out of Maxol’s proprietary Rosa coffee range in 2018 and last year, more than 3.5million cups of Rosa coffee were sold in the Republic of Ireland. A brew of freshly roasted Arabica beans, Rosa coffee is only sold in compostable or reusable cups across Maxol’s network of independent retailers in ROI.
“Maxol is becoming as well known for its coffee as it is for its traditional fuel and retail convenience offering. Therefore, choosing a partner that could not only provide a fantastic quality product but was also highly innovative was critical to our decision to work with Bewley’s again,” said Brian Donaldson, CEO of The Maxol Group.
“The synergy between two Irish, family-owned companies working together in the retail convenience space was also important and, given the estimated 20 million cups of Rosa coffee we expect to sell over the next five years, we are confident we have secured a really strong partnership,” Donaldson continued.
“We’re excited about the prospect of bringing two new coffee variants to our customers and we know from our customer insights that iced and oat coffees are in big demand. Our plan is to introduce these to around half of our network of company-owned stores within the next 12 months as part of our overall innovation and investment strategy.”
Jason Doyle, MD of Bewley’s added that the group was “thrilled” to extend its partnership with Maxol. “We look forward to building on our great collaboration to deliver an innovative, sustainable and quality experience for consumers with our renowned Fair Trade coffee and Rainforest alliance certified tea together with our unrivalled coffee equipment and servicing expertise,” Doyle said. “It is a great privilege for us to partner with a like-minded, family-owned Irish business where superior quality is a non-negotiable element.”
‘Guardians of great coffee’ take customers on engaging sustainable coffee journey
The Warbler & Wren coffee brand thrives in today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving coffee market. A young and vibrant brand, it has taken flight across the Irish market with a successfully showcasing at Catex 2023. Warbler and Wren is a firm favourite with Gen Z and Millennials alike.
Locally roasting at its roastery at the foot of the Dublin mountains, the brand prides itself on selecting only the finest 100% arabica beans for its blends. These include Great Taste Award winners, Little Bird and Wren’s Nest.
As ‘Guardians of Great Coffee’, Warbler & Wren takes customers on an exciting and engaging sustainable coffee journey. There’s a whole chain of “guardians” involved along the coffee journey, from its roasters to baristas, all working together in harmony to ensure the best in cup is enjoyed each time.
All Warbler & Wren blends are packaged in 100% recyclable packaging with its Bare Cherry, blend also being Rainforest Alliance certified. The brand’s aqueous cups are fully recyclable, compostable, and repulpable. High-volume customers can avoid waste on single pack formats with its recyclable drum solution in step with the Circular Economy model of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.
Great tasting coffee, with sustainable choices: Now that’s something to chirp about!
Details on Warbler & Wren’s full coffee solution including, training, marketing support, equipment, and service is available at www.warblerandwren.com.
Taste sensation with green benefits
In the ever-evolving world of dietary choices, plant-based alternatives have taken centre stage, and one brand that’s leading the charge is SiSú Oat-Rageous Oat M*lk.
Proudly Irish-owned, SiSú’s Oat M*lk has quickly become a household name, with over 500 stockists nationwide since its May launch. SiSú doesn’t just emulate dairy; it sets a new standard for plant-based milk alternatives, delivering an indulgent and satisfying experience.
SiSú is gearing up to launch more exciting products early next year, showing its commitment to staying at the forefront of the plant-based movement.
SiSú’s success mirrors the broader trend of plant-based products gaining ground, especially among those under 50. Notably, between 18–24 year-olds and 25–34 year-olds.
Market data from Statista reveals that the Irish milk alternative market was valued at approximately €33 million in 2022 and is projected to grow by 14.8% annually until 2028. This data underscores the surging demand for plant-based alternatives in Ireland.
“This is an incredibly exciting time for the plant-based movement in Ireland. We’ve witnessed remarkable growth in our customer base opting for plant-based drinks, and the response to our Oat M*lk has been phenomenal,” says Jennifer Mulvey, managing director of SiSú.
In addition to its Oat M*lk, SiSú has seen significant expansion in their cold-pressed wellness shots, further underlining the Irish appetite for healthy, sustainable options.
SiSú’s commitment to innovation extends to its team as well. The company recently welcomed Aisling McGann, daughter of chairman and founder, Brian McGann, back to Ireland from Australia. Aisling brings a wealth of experience from her time in Australia and her expertise is poised to take SiSú to new heights, aligning perfectly with their mission to provide delicious, health-conscious choices to consumers nationwide.
With nationwide distribution, SiSú Oat-Rageous Oat M*lk is readily accessible for consumers who appreciate a delicious and conscientious choice. Whether it’s savoured in a morning coffee or used to elevate culinary creations, SiSú is on a mission to make the future tastier and more sustainable, one sip at a time.
Reliability, style and service
As Ireland’s supplier of Italy’s most loved commercial coffee machines, FAEMA, Milano Coffee Systems states customer service excellence is guaranteed with a seven-day service helpline and countrywide servicing engineers.
An extensive range of automatic and traditional espresso machines are available to suit all budgets.
With a state-of-the-art coffee machine showroom, potential customers can visit the team and experience coffee machine excellence with Milano Coffee Systems.
Call today to book a showroom visit on 01 4133 844.
See Milano Coffee Systems’ full coffee machine and coffee grinder range at www.coffeemachines.ie
Artisan roaster making its mark
Since its beginnings in 2018, Velo Coffee Roasters has grown from strength to strength. As the first winner of the Grow with Aldi programme, the small, artisan roaster based in Cork city has been on the map. The brand is now in Aldi stores nationwide, as well as making its mark in Dunnes Stores, Tesco and select SuperValu stores. The Cork roaster is doing something different than its retail competitors, by making speciality coffee mainstream. The quality that Velo Coffee Roasters brings, is showcased every year across UK and Irish food awards, where this year alone, the brand entered into the Blas na hÉireann final and won six Great Taste Awards.
It is this quality that has kept Velo ahead of the curve. As the market changes and the fresh coffee category grows, coffee consumers are becoming more discerning. Velo sits at the forefront of this change with innovation, excellence, and social and environmental sustainability at the core of the business. As Origin Green Gold members, Velo and its team have continuously achieved the brand’s sustainability targets. Velo has partnered with farmers at origin since the brand started and developed projects at origin that will make an impact for those local communities. “We’ve partnered with our farmer in El Salvador to not only help bring broadband to the schools, but also to help train the teachers to teach with technology,” says owner Rob Horgan.
Sustainability is a vital part of the coffee community, and consumers expect roasters to source ethically and make a positive impact. What isn’t often expected in coffee is remarkable innovation. That is where Velo shines, from being the first to retail with its completely recyclable packaging in 2021 to developing a functional coffee with Glanbia that is launching later this year. “We’re lucky to have such an ambitious and hard-working team who are excited to see the brand grow,” says Horgan. “We can expect a lot of change and growth coming to the coffee category.”
Putting the talk into tea
Lyons Tea has been putting the talk into tea since 1902 and has thrived in the tea market; dominating as one of Ireland’s favourite tea brands, boasting cultural iconic status.
This October, Lyons Tea will unveil a complete brand refresh to revive the brand with a modernised look and feel without losing any of rich, full-bodied and bold flavour or the loved quintessential Lyons essence. Set to hit the shelves throughout September, the refresh will include a striking new logo, a smaller redesigned pack, and a new square tea bag shape, but all with the same award-winning tea blend at its heart.
With the environment and sustainability as a focus, Lyons Tea’s new look comes from its 100% carbon neutral production plant.
Since the beginning, Lyons Tea says it has used the sunshine, wind and rain in the fields of Africa to make its uniquely smooth taste. All the delicious leaves used in blending Lyons Tea are 100% sustainably sourced and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Every cup of Lyons Tea helps make a difference, as Lyons was the first major tea brand to remove plastic overwrap and has long since introduced plant based biodegradable teabags and fully recyclable cartons.
So, when chatting with old friends, making new ones, or simply spending time with someone special, the brand states “quality conversation always calls for Lyons – the quality tea”.
Born and blended in Ireland since 1896
Thompson’s, Northern Ireland’s favourite tea, has announced an exciting update to its core black tea packaging.
A fourth-generation family business born and blended in Ireland since 1896, Thompson’s brand-new look and feel helps to better communicate the brand’s rich heritage and story.
In keeping with the brand’s focus on sustainability, Thompson’s new packaging will also feature the official OPRL logo highlighting its recyclability. The new packaging design also coincides with Thompson’s Tea rolling out biodegradable tea bag paper throughout its core black tea range.
Currently, the decaf tea category is experiencing significant and sustained growth. Thompson’s Decaf, launched late to the market, has since grown to become Northern Ireland’s best-selling Decaf tea.
Thompson’s has also won impressive awards for its taste credentials. The results from this year’s Great Taste Awards, hosted by the Guild of Fine Foods, were recently released. Out of thousands of entries, there were only eight tea products awarded a prestigious Two Gold Stars by the Guild of Find Food.
Five of these awards were given to Thompson’s Tea, including Thompson’s Favourite Everyday, Irish Breakfast, Scottish Blend, Signature and of course Northern Ireland’s best-selling tea, Punjana. This brings the company’s total tally to a record of over 150 gold stars at the Great Taste Awards.