Rushikesh Aravkar
Rushikesh is Mintel's Associate Director, Consumer Reports South APAC (India and Thailand), Food and Drink, based in Mumbai. Rushikesh is a packaging engineer, and prior to Mintel, he was an editor of a packaging magazine.

The entry of coffee chains such as Starbucks, Cafe Coffee Day, Costa Coffee and Barista over the past few years has played a crucial role in shaping the coffee consumption habits of Indian consumers. What was previously a binary coffee drink choice of filtered coffee or instant coffee, has today expanded to lattes, cappuccinos, espressos and Americanos, among other variants.

Today, consumers are interested in products that help them replicate cafe-style drink experiences at home. Mintel research indicates that almost a quarter of out-of-home tea or coffee drinkers say they’d like to recreate cafe-branded speciality drinks at home.

One such example is homemade Indian cappuccino, which is made by whipping instant coffee powder, sugar and a dash of water or milk together until a thick, creamy and light-coloured paste is formed. This mixture is then added to hot milk. However, the process of making this homemade cappuccino is tedious and time-consuming.

Enhancing consumer experience

Taking this cue, ITC has launched a ready-to-use whipped coffee paste – Sunbean Beaten Caffe. It is comprised of sugar, water, glucose syrup and soluble coffee powder. This beaten coffee paste is said to dissolve effortlessly in warm milk.

Source: Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD)

While instant coffee in powder format has empowered consumers to prepare coffee quickly and easily, ITC’s Sunbean Beaten Caffe boosts consumer convenience several notches higher. This format can appeal to the nearly one-fifth of Indian consumers who say coffee is complicated to make.

The fact that this product needs to be refrigerated at less than 12°C means it will not share shelf space with other instant coffee products. While this can prove to be a drawback from a retail positioning point of view, the company can use it to its advantage by placing the product on cold shelves alongside milk products.

What we think

In a category like instant coffee, where new product development means a constant struggle between convenience and quality, the paste format has the potential to grow as it elevates the consumer experience on both these fronts.

This indicates an opportunity for companies to experiment and innovate with formats and textures that enables consumers to enjoy creamy, frothy and foamy coffee at home without having to invest in expensive espresso machines. The key lies in recognising consumer habits and developing consumer-centric products.