Does coffee keep you awake? One group that seems to be having a few sleepless nights is the International Coffee Organisation, the trade body which links coffee growing and importing countries. The latest edition of our regular Market Forecast reports the ICO’s forecast of a 25% increase in global demand for coffee by 2020, which is expected to see demand outstrip supply until growers can increase capacity.
While that may push prices up, it seems unlikely consumers already used to paying a premium for speciality coffee will be deterred. The UK has more than 20,000 coffee shops, according to analyst MCA, with the figure forecast to rise to more than 30,000 by 2025, with the value of the market expected to rise from £7.9bn in 2015 to more than £15bn.
We’re all familiar with the success of branded outlets such as Costa, Starbucks and Caffè Nero, as well as independent coffee specialists. However, MCA expects a chunk of the expansion in the market over the next decade to come from what it calls “non-specialist operator growth” – in other words, from restaurant and pub owners making more of the opportunity that a credible coffee offer can create.
That opportunity comes only from the profit to be made on coffee itself – and a well-made latte or cappuccino will continue to generate good margins, whatever happens to coffee prices – but also from building an incremental food trade alongside it.
Our presence at the Caffe Culture show in London recently was a good opportunity to see some of the latest ideas and products aimed at helping chefs and operators develop their food trade outside the conventional lunch and dinner periods. Things that caught our eye include:
- Breakfast: There is still huge potential for operators to grow sales at the start of the day. With consumer interest in food quality and provenance stronger than ever, a poster or chalkboard promoting a ‘freshly baked breakfast bap made with locally-cured bacon and a free range egg’ will stand out from the competition. Another trend strongly in evidence at Caffe Culture was the popularity of upmarket porridge and muesli, which appeals to customers looking for a healthier start, with flavours such as blackcurrant and apple very popular.
- Cakes and pastries: Definitely more indulgent, but also very much on-trend thanks to the Great British Bake Off factor, are freshly baked cakes and pastries. Served with a speciality tea or coffee, muffins, traybakes, cupcakes and flapjacks appeal to post-school run parents, shoppers, and mobile workers looking for somewhere to fire up the laptop. Gluten-free products, including cookies, muffins and crispbreads, were strongly in evidence at Caffe Culture.
- Wraps and toasties: Don’t neglect the savoury side of the daytime food opportunity. We are increasingly a grazing culture, with many consumers looking for food options at times when it might not make economic sense to offer a full kitchen service. Whether it’s wraps, flatbreads, panini or toasties, hand-held food options are increasingly popular. Operators can stick with tried and trusted flavours, with chicken, cheese and tuna all still among the most popular fillings, or add a more exotic touch with flavours such as Mexican and Thai, which continue to grow in popularity.
- Bagged snacks: A bag of cheese & onion crisps still has strong appeal as part of a daytime meal deal, but Caffe Culture showed that there’s plenty more going in in the world of snacks. Among the products on show were gluten free sweet potato chips, pastrami-and-rye flavour artisan crisps, and a range of air dried vegetable crisps in flavours including tomato & cucumber, pepper & courgette and beetroot & parsnip.
- Soft drinks: Alongside a speciality coffee menu, an interesting ‘adult’ soft drinks range can also drive daytime sales. Among the delights we saw at Caffe Culture were a water flavoured with Scandinavian birch sap, ‘energy water’ boosted with natural caffeine, and a yuzu puree – and yes, we had to double check, a yuzu is an East Asian citrus fruit.
Whichever route you take, varying the menu to increase daytime sales makes it more important than ever to keep tight control of costs. The newly redesigned Lynx Purchasing GP Calculator App, which is endorsed by the Craft Guild of Chefs, enables chefs, caterers and restaurant managers to monitor margins in busy kitchens or when negotiating with suppliers, using a smartphone or tablet. To download the FREE App, go to:
For Android: Lynx Purchasing GP Calculator App on Google Play
Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2200 businesses including hotels, pubs, restaurants, healthcare and education providers. Lynx offers access to the best prices in the market, with no fees or contracts. Lynx customers also benefit from detailed market insight, enabling them to plan menus more effectively.