Jodie Minotto
Jodie is Research Manager, Mintel Food and Drink, Asia Pacific. She has more than a decade’s experience in the food and beverage industry, working for both global CPG companies and SMEs.
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Ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee or coffee-flavoured milk, commonly referred to as ‘iced coffee’, only represents a small share of the Australian packaged coffee market. Despite this, new launches of RTD coffee grew almost seven-fold from September 2012 to August 2017, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), highlighting how manufacturers are slowly starting to tap into the growing momentum around cold coffee.

In Australia, iced coffee brands like Farmers Union Iced Coffee and Paul’s ‘Territory’s Own’ Iced Coffee have historically advertised and targeted a younger, male demographic who work long hours and are looking for a quick and convenient caffeine fix throughout the day.

Despite their continued popularity among this target demographic, brands such as Barista Brothers and Dare have started to rethink their positioning in an attempt to widen their consumer bases. Barista Bros launched a campaign entitled ‘Deliciousness is in the Detail’, which highlights how they are paying more attention to the ingredients in order to promote the taste and quality of their products.

Meanwhile, Dare launched the Dare Cold Pressed iced coffee range, which, according to the company, uses only three, natural ingredients. Supplementing the new launch, the brand has used the tagline ‘Cold brewed for a fancier fix’, indicating that the brand is clearly trying to elevate this new launch in consumers’ minds.

Australians are avoiding sugar and dairy

As the iced coffee category in Australia develops, brands face a threat in the form of ever-rising health consciousness. Consumers are starting to look for healthier alternatives to sugar-laden beverages and research conducted by the Cancer Council New South Wales in 2015 found that many Australians were actually consuming their entire daily sugar and saturated fat limits on their daily coffee run.

In light of this, Australian consumers are trying to limit their sugar intake and believe food and drink companies should be doing more to reduce the amount of sugar in their products, as reflected in Mintel research.

Furthermore, the dairy content of iced coffee poses yet another issue for the category. Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘Power to the Plants’ explains how consumers’ aspirations for healthier, more simple, and so-called cleaner lifestyles are driving further expansion of vegetarian, vegan, and other plant-based formulations into their diets. Rather than embracing a completely plant-based lifestyle, consumers are choosing a flexitarian approach.

Indeed, Mintel research also reveals that Australian consumers believe it’s healthier if they avoid dairy, highlighting the potential to build on this trend by developing iced-coffee formulations that centre on plants’ inherent goodness, flavour, and functionality.

Additionally, just over one in five Australian women are eating more non-animal sources of protein including plants and grains. This, coupled with the fact that non-dairy milks are a standard option with coffee in Australia’s foodservice channel, suggests that Australian consumers, in particular women, could be open to trying packaged iced coffee made from dairy alternatives.

There is an opportunity for Australian iced-coffee brands to move beyond its traditional male target market. Indeed, women who enjoy iced coffee may enter the category if brands look to offer them healthier propositions, like using plant-based milks or reducing the sugar content.

Jodie Minotto is Research Manager, Mintel Food and Drink, Asia Pacific. She has more than 13 years of experience in sales, marketing and market research roles, predominantly in the food and beverage industry, working for both global CPG companies and SMEs. Her expertise lies in the dairy, confectionery, meal solutions, snack foods, beer and wine categories.