The case for an efficient cup of coffee
Americans are buying less coffee while drinking more of it. How does that work? The answer, Reuters’ Luc Cohen explains, lies in the rise of single-cup coffee makers. These machines are swallowing up significant market share by allowing consumers to brew only as much coffee as they need, which in turn means less coffee purchased and less coffee wasted. As Cohen writes, ”Traders often quip that before single serve coffee pods gained prominence, the sink was the world’s largest coffee consumer.”
As this interactive Reuters graphic shows, according to Mintel data, home brewing using single-cup coffee makers has increased dramatically, from just over 3 percent of total sales in January, 2009, to over 32 percent in January, 2014. Single-cup coffee use increased to $3.81 billion in sales in January, 2014, compared to just $230 million in the same month of 2009. Total coffee sales were $11.9 billion in 2014, compared to $7.6 billion in 2009.
The competition to sell the coffee pods that bloom into full mugs of Joe via single-cup machines has been fierce. Last year Keurig tried to add digital rights management to it’s v 2.0 machines and pods, a move that would have allowed only the brewing of Keurig-approved coffee. At the time Keurig called the technology the “future of brewing,” but Consumer Affairs was considerably less excited, announcing the move under the headline, “Will coffee drinkers be stupid enough to fall for this? Stay tuned.” Indeed, coffee drinkers weren’t having it; pod-sales competitors quickly hacked their way around the digital rights, and poor sales of 2.0 machineshit Keurig’s bottom line.
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