Full of beans: 5 innovations giving the coffee market a roasting

September 29, 2014
5 min read

Coffee has long been a staple in the global drinks market, with the the sector’s top market, Brazil, recording volume sales of 508.4 million tonnes in 2013 alone.

With the recent introduction of Starbucks’ new coffee that tastes like Guinness, a product that debuted to mixed reviews, are brands pushing the boundaries with what can be done with the much loved drink? Whilst it used to be a choice of black or white, today the coffee market has sparked game-changing innovations to appeal to today’s coffee connoisseurs. In this post, we take a look at the top five.



The early morning choice between coffee and tea has become a whole lot easier for consumers thanks to a raft of innovations combining the two drinks. The development of hybrid coffee-tea products taps into the growing desire for experimentation and healthier lifestyles among Millennial coffee drinkers. Western brands are beginning to innovate around the trend following years of developments in Asia, with Roispresso in the UK and Sweet Leaf’s Coffee-Tea in the US. A study has also suggested that tea brewed from coffee leaves could be a future area of expansion given its purported health benefits.

For example, Grass Land Nobles Ka Fei Nai Cha (Coffee Flavoured Milk Tea) is said to be natural, pure and aromatic. This soluble beverage is free from any additives, and retails in a 550g pack containing five units. Each unit contains five 22g sachets.

Frozen coffee


North American coffee manufacturers are keeping a watchful eye on their coffee house competition — and for good reason. In-home and out-of-home outlets are nearly tied in terms of US consumer preferences, with 98% of US adults drinking coffee purchased away from home and 97% drinking coffee brewed at home.

Old Orchard Iced Coffee Cafe Mocha Concentrate is now available. This frozen concentrated coffee blend is made from premium roast coffee. It is prepared by just adding water and is naturally lactose and gluten free. The kosher product retails in a recyclable 355ml pack.

Butter coffee

A niche but growing trend for butter coffee among coffee aficionados has the potential to become more than just a gimmick. Dave Asprey, a US health entrepreneur and coffee obsessive, has introduced butter coffee into US retail after being inspired by a trip to Nepal, where tea made with yak butter is a staple for locals. His Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee product blends together coffee and high quality butter (grass-fed, unsalted) with coconut fat for a frothy, creamy brew.

Butter coffee is a concept which genuinely can work. It taps into differing consumer needs, such as a high protein coffee as breakfast replacement and the desire for creamy, indulgent coffee blends. By all accounts, it also tastes great.

Mokate Cappuccino One Cup


Black tea drinking is declining in Poland due to already high consumption levels
Functional teas are on the rise thanks to pro health consumer attitudes
Despite it being seen as less healthy, coffee is also entering into the area of functional drinks with added value. Tea has a healthy image, and in comparison to coffee most people believe tea is healthier. However, coffee is growing in popularity in Poland. Polish coffee drinking habits are being revolutionised through the growing popularity of coffee shops. Furthermore, 69% of Poles claims that coffee gives them a much-needed energy boost and also makes a nice treat (66%).

Whilst coffee producers are aiming to keep pace with consumer expectations, there have been very few launches of coffee with claimed functional benefits to meet the increasing health interest of consumers. Mokate SA is one of the few companies that does already have some functional coffee mixes in its portfolio, including Mokate Cappuccino with magnesium, guarana, acai and fibre. La Movida Cappuccino z Magnezem (Cappuccino with Magnesium) has been repackaged in a newly designed pack. The instant drink is a source of magnesium and retails in a 130 pack.

Jed’s Coffee Co Bean Bags in New Zealand


Introductions of bags, pods, or pre-filled filters increased from 9% of global coffee launches in 2009 to 27% of overall coffee introductions in 2013. Sales of single-serve are highest in Europe and are also growing strongly in its second biggest market, the US, where revenue grew to just under US $2 billion in 2013.

Coffee beans/ground coffee are most likely to be associated with high quality, indulgence and strong taste over other formats by people in the UK, but the category suffers from a weak image as convenient, which is likely to pose a significant barrier to usage.
Two recent attempts to bring greater convenience to ground coffee come from Coffeebrewer in the Netherlands with what it calls a “single brew French press” and Jed’s Coffee Co Bean Bags in New Zealand, featuring fresh roasted ground coffee in pyramid teabags – claiming to be the first company in the world to do so. A third example comes from Robert Harris, also in New Zealand, with Fresh Plunger Coffee Bags.

While potentially helping to address the poor perception of ground coffee as convenient in the UK, such products could also be well placed to tap into out-of-home occasions as a viable alternative to teabags.

Jed’s Coffee Co. Medium Blend No. 3 Coffee Bean Bags can be brewed in your cup without the need of a plunger resulting in no mess. The coffee blend is described as a full, rich, strong roast that is made with real fresh coffee roasted and packed in New Zealand. The bags are made from biodegradable paper and are said to be cleverly designed for the perfect brew. They are individually sealed to go where the consumer does. It retails in an 80g recyclable pack containing ten x 8g bean bags.

Jonny Forsyth
Jonny Forsyth

Jonny Forsyth is Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, monitoring and engaging with latest innovations and market developments in all alcohol and coffee categories.

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