The nation’s coffee scene is radically transforming, due to a burgeoning wave of independent coffee businesses hungry to innovate and challenge existing standards of quality, taste and service.
A new report published 24 August by Allegra World Coffee Portal and titled The Future of Coffee finds that Britain’s Third Wave coffee artisans are bringing high quality speciality coffee to a larger and more discerning audience than ever before.
Speciality sector outperforming the market
Allegra’s study reveals that speciality coffee accounts for an estimated 15% of the total volume of the out-of-home coffee market, and forecasts 13% year-on-year (YoY) growth. The speciality segment outperforms the total market, which itself is projected to grow at 10% (far outperforming many other sectors of the British economy).
An innovative sector
Espresso and coffee grinding equipment innovations are empowering baristas, helping them reach higher levels of consistency and accuracy in their quest to serve the best quality coffee for the consumer. Speciality coffee venues are also experimenting with new beverages including cold brew and speciality teas. In the future, streamlined bar environments and increased automation will facilitate greater service-orientation from baristas.
The speciality coffee sector will evolve and influence high street coffee chains
- Speciality coffee chains such as Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Taylor St Baristas, and Notes will grow and focus on vertical integration
- Branded chains such as Starbucks, Costa and Caffè Nero will adopt speciality credentials, further increasing competitive pressure and contributing to a blurring of lines between branded chains and
- A culture of training will become entrenched leading to a more professionalised industry
- Non-specialist operators such as retailers, pubs and restaurants will integrate speciality coffee into their businesses
- Consumers will drink more speciality coffee at home. They will continue to consume a variety of different types of coffee for different occasions, but will trade up for better quality
- Investment activity in the sector will grow
The Fourth Wave: the Science of Coffee
Britain’s most progressive coffee companies, including Workshop Coffee Co., Square Mile Coffee Roasters, Caravan and Origin Coffee are embracing new technology and scientific methods to refine the coffee-making process from farm to cup. In the future, greater attention to agronomy and processing at origin will help yield higher quality beans. A deeper understanding of the properties of coffee and the effects of water chemistry will enhance baristas’ coffee brewing expertise.
About the Speciality Coffee Market
Approximately 180 speciality coffee roasters now operate in the UK. This fast-growing but immature market is characterised by very young businesses. 61% of roasters interviewed for the study have been roasting for 2 years or less.
The total green coffee market (excluding coffee destined for the retail grocery market) is estimated at 46,690 tonnes per annum. This is forecast to reach 75,200 tonnes by 2020 with a YoY growth rate of 10%. Allegra estimates the speciality green coffee market at 7,020 tonnes and forecast to reach 12,940 tonnes by 2020 with a growth rate of 13% p.a.
The speciality green coffee market has an estimated value of £40m per annum and Allegra forecasts it to reach £80.4m by 2020 representing 15% growth p.a. Growth will be driven by demand from an increasing number of artisan microroasters and commercial roasters broadening their offer to include speciality.
The UK speciality roasted coffee market is estimated at 5,830 tonnes per annum (based on an average mass reduction of 17% during the roasting process) and Allegra expects it to reach 10,740 tonnes by 2020. The market has an estimated annual value of £80.1 million and with value growth of 16% p.a it is forecast to reach £168.3m in value by 2020. This growth is being driven by strong consumer demand for quality-focused coffee, together with the proliferation of speciality coffee in a variety of non-traditional channels.
Allegra estimates there are 1,400 independent speciality coffee venues in the UK, rising to 2,500 by 2020, a YoY growth rate of 12%. Nearly half of venues interviewed for the study indicated that they have been operating for 2 years or less. 65% of speciality coffee venue owners plan to open new stores in the next 3 years.
Explosion of speciality coffee venues
Jeffrey Young, Managing Director, Allegra Group, commented: “The last 3-5 years have seen a significant transformation of the UK coffee market with the explosion of speciality coffee venues nationwide and a particular focus on London and the South East. We have witnessed a growing presence of quality artisan roasters producing volumes of high grade speciality coffee.”
James Dickson, Executive Director, Workshop Coffee Co., commented: “The Future of Coffee” is a ground breaking report and the first ever detailed study of the UK speciality coffee market. The research clearly shows that this is a market with huge growth potential. There has never been a more exciting time to be involved in the speciality coffee sector and Workshop Coffee is delighted to have supported Allegra in producing this research.”
The Future of Coffee: Speciality Coffee in the UK is now available to purchase from Allegra World Coffee Portal
Allegra World Coffee Portal
The Allegra World Coffee Portal is a global information platform for senior decision makers across the coffee sector. Building upon the unparalleled coffee expertise of Allegra Strategies, the World Coffee Portal delivers data, coffee trend information, brand profiles and strategic analysis on the most important coffee markets across the world.
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