With a flourishing ‘café culture’ continuing apace throughout the nation, cold coffees which deliver a purer brew are catching the imagination of Ireland’s coffee connoisseurs, writes Gillian Hamill
17 February 2020
Q & A with…Tanya O’Hare, stills shopper marketing manager at Coca-Cola Bottling Company
Q: How significant is the demand for iced coffee in the Irish market and what is the category’s growth potential over the next year?
A: Ready to drink (RTD) coffee is worth €1m in Ireland and is projected to continue to grow 4.5% over the next five years*. The popularity of ‘café culture’ has brought RTD coffee to the centre stage of the global marketplace. As consumers look for alternatives to carbonated beverages and energy drinks, on-the-go and highly convenient RTD coffee is becoming more popular with many brands capitalising on this opportunity and space*.
Q: How has Honest managed to fulfil a niche in the market?
A: The RTD coffee market is growing due to a number of trends; one being an increase in consumers shopping for premium, organic options. “It seems RTD coffee is following global consumers’ love affair with all things natural,” according to Mintel*. Honest’s consumers are more socially conscious and place a real importance on the sourcing of ingredients, which is why you find organic milk and organic coffee beans in Honest Coffee. In fact, it is the only organic certified RTD coffee brand in the market. As it is much lower in caffeine, Honest works well as an afternoon relaxing/ indulgent drink, whilst still being lower in sugar. Honest Coffee has 58% lower milk content compared to the leading market competitor, as well as 4.8g per 100ml of sugar compared to the category average of more than 10g per 100ml.
Q: What growth has Honest projected for the brand within the Irish market? How many retailers is the brand currently listed with?
A: We feel there is a significant opportunity for Honest to add incremental growth within the RTD coffee category in 2020, through offering an alternative product which combats some of the barriers to category purchase, with many perceiving the current RTD coffee products on the market to be unhealthy, have too much sugar, too many calories and be too expensive. Honest is a RTD coffee which has lower sugar, is lower in calories, but has a great coffee taste whilst also giving the caffeine hit you would expect from a coffee product. Honest Coffee launched in May 2019 and is in over 680 accounts across the island of Ireland with further account acquisition expected.
Q: How important is it for Honest to have sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging?
Honest is certified organic; an attribute which is heavily intertwined with sustainability. Honest RTD Coffee uses PlantBottle packaging, which is made from renewable plant material which is 100% recyclable. Having sustainable, environmentally friendly packaging is extremely important for the brand as it supports the demand from consumers looking for sustainable packaging as well as the brand’s ethos and positioning of being natural and ‘better for you, better for the planet’.
Q: What marketing plans are in place for the Honest brand within Ireland over the next 12 months?
There is a fully integrated marketing plan to support Honest in 2020 including digital out-of-home advertising communicating Honest’s products and organic message, targeting key city centre on-the-go convenience stores. We will encourage trial through targeted sampling and generate ‘talkability’ with our always-on social influencer strategy, partnering with wholesome individuals with organic credentials who fit within our target demographic for Honest. In-store point of sale will help drive brand visibility and awareness.
Q: How important is the range’s organic credentials in helping Honest to stand out from competitors?
“Consumer interest in better-for-you beverages is shaping the RTD coffee market as demand for organic and non-GMO coffee or functional formulations enhanced with all-natural flavours, protein and vitamins grows,” says Caleb Bryant, senior beverage analyst at Mintel*. Honest is organic ingredient-certified (coffee beans, cocoa, milk and cane sugar) and currently the only organic RTD coffee brand in the market which helps meet this consumer demand, a clear point of difference in the coffee market and an opportunity for both retailers and consumers to trade up from mainstream players. Honest also selects ingredients with a pure recipe rather than artificial, over-processed drinks existing in the market.
*(Sources: Canadean, 2018 YTD Q3
As Ireland has increasingly become a nation of coffee afficionados over the past decade, consumers have grown more adventurous and willing to try out new iced coffee and cold brew options.
According to a new report by Euromonitor on ready to drink (RTD) coffee in Ireland, the range of RTD coffee products has increased significantly. “As the economy in Ireland heats up,” reports Euromonitor, “consumers find themselves not only with more spare cash but also with less spare time. Both factors contribute to the growing popularity of RTD coffee products.”
According to Euromonitor, awareness of RTD coffee significantly increased among Irish consumers during the unusually warm summer of 2018, which, together with the economic upsurge, led to a notable improvement of the category’s retail sales. More RTD coffee products were promoted on-trade, sparking interest and leading to a rise in off-trade sales.
Euromonitor also points out that RTD coffee continues to be very much on-trend in Ireland and niche players are playing to their consumers’ bespoke preferences, offering a larger variety of coffee available in uniquely designed packaging. Organic variants are popular, and nitro-infused coffee has also helped the category to grow, Euromonitor adds.
Consumers now more precise
An earlier report by Ian Kennedy, consumer and market insight at Bord Bia, also flags up some interesting points. According to Kennedy, “coffee has been a growing phenomenon among Irish consumers in recent years with 75% of Irish consumers stating they drink coffee, and seven in ten drinking more than one cup a day. Sales of fresh coffee are continuing to drive growth with overall sales of instant coffee declining year-on-year.”
Irish consumers have also increased their knowledge about the sector and are keen to discover new artisan and quality options. “While coffee increases in popularity,” writes Kennedy, “consumers are becoming more precise about their coffee with the coffee blend, espresso shot and even the type of milk used all significant factors in deciding what coffee to order. Mintel’s recent report found that these preferences are more common amongst 16-34 year olds with older consumers opting for the more traditional coffees like an Americano.”
People are also now more curious and keen to expand their knowledge about coffee. “Consumers are eager to learn about how coffee is brewed,” states Kennedy, “with 3fe and other coffee companies offering brewing classes for baristas as well as coffee lovers. As consumers become more involved in brewing the perfect cup of coffee, we could see our coffee market take a transition like the current Irish craft beer market which is hugely popular in Ireland.”
A report by Mintel published last year on ‘The Future of Coffee’ also gives a broader overview of the factors and trends predicted to make their mark on the sector. Mintel points out that global brands are meeting the rising consumer demand for coffee with added health and beauty functionality. In Western countries, Mintel states, whole bean coffee is growing from a retail niche into a major format.
In the next two years to 2021, the analyst highlights how the younger generation will re-write the ‘rules’ of coffee. “Compared to older drinkers, they prefer their coffee colder, purer and for a wider range of usage occasions,” Mintel states. Overall, cold brew is set to grow in Europe, according to the analyst, and with that in mind, we have highlighted the leading brands worth your consideration here.
From Colombia with love
Frank and Honest, the company whose coffees-to-go are available at SuperValu and Centra, has created three new coffees which are all cold brews.
Cold Brew Original, Mocha and Coconut are the three new flavours and the range is made from a single origin Colombian arabica coffee, selected and roasted for its natural chocolate and caramel notes. It is immersed in a bath of cold spring water for 20 hours to slowly extract the clean and smooth coffee flavours.
The Frank and Honest Cold Brew range is available in select SuperValu and Centra stores nationwide at an RRP of €3.
Next level nitrogen
For those who prefer their coffee cold, the Nescafé Azera Nitro range offers an ideal choice. Perfect for sipping on hot summer days or when consumers need a convenient ready to drink coffee on-the-go, Nitro coffee provides a refreshing break. Made from premium coffee infused with nitrogen which makes a satisfying hiss when the can is cracked open, this coffee delivers a memorable experience.
A silky, smooth and refreshingly cold blend, Nescafé Azera Nitro coffee promises a next level coffee experience. Nitrogen-infused for however, whenever and wherever consumers want their coffee, the Nescafé Azera Nitro range consists of two options: Nescafé Azera Nitro Americano and Nescafé Azera Nitro Latte.
Nescafé is the world’s favourite coffee brand, enjoyed in over 180 countries worldwide. With over 80 years of experience in selecting, roasting and blending the very best coffee, it’s not surprising that over 5,500 cups of Nescafé coffee are drunk every second.