The coffee market away-from-home in the UK 2019

The United Kingdom represents the fifth largest country in Europe for coffee consumption and it is an important player in the European coffee industry for several reasons:

The coffee market away-from-home in the UK 2019
  • It hosts the headquarters of the International Coffee Organization, which includes almost all countries of production and most of their consumers;
  • It has one of the most important coffee stock exchanges, which quotes Robusta coffee prices (prices of Arabica are quoted in New York);
  • In recent years, the United Kingdom, especially London, has become the European heart of specialty coffee. This movement, linked to the third wave, considers coffee an artisanal foodstuff and not a commodity. Many new small coffee shops have opened in the country, serving high-quality beverages. Furthermore, London hosts the European headquarters of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA).

Despite the economic crisis that has involved many European countries and uncertainty related to Brexit, the coffee market in the United Kingdom continues to grow (+12% during 2018 and +5% CAGR during the last three years).

(Read also Important Cost Factors for Office Coffee Machines in the UK)

The reason for this success is the increase of coffee lovers in a country traditionally linked to the consumption of tea.

Recently, a sort of coffee mania has begun to pervade the country, with consumers who are more educated in finding quality coffee and a huge range of opportunities to drink coffee out of the home, from branded coffee chains that promise a real coffee shop experience, to speciality cafés that count on the quality and particularity of their beans. On the other hand, pubs and fast-food chains are jostling for market share with cut-price coffee that can often still compete in flavour.

Coffee is increasingly preferred in offices that nowadays represent the first place of consumption away from home.

The national average coffee consumption is 2.9 kg per person. This figure is still low, compared to other European countries (around 7-8 kg per person), but is increasing. Coffee is consumed by more men (54%) than women (46%) and the younger generation have started to drink more coffee than tea.

Most people drink at home (61%) and prefer long filter/instant coffee. Away from the home (39%), Britons prefer their coffee drinks with milk and their expectations of quality are increasing. The consumption of Fairtrade and specialty coffees is increasing.

Most of the coffee consumed in the country is instant/soluble (57%) followed by bean/ground (37%) and portioned (6%).

During the last three years, the away from home consumption of instant/soluble coffee recorded a decrease in 2016 and 2017 in particular, with a recovery in 2018. Instead, bean coffee recorded a huge increase as well the consumption of capsule coffee. Filter coffee slightly decreased during the last years with a recovery in 2018.

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