I was recently interviewed by an online magazine, and the writer was trying to make the case that Instant coffee had basically vanished over the last twenty years. He had already built a story that instant coffee was dead in his head. The way of his parents and grandparents was over, and the world was rejoicing.
Quickly I had to correct him as this is not the case. Instant coffee has actually been steadily growing for the last twenty years. There was a slight dip in 2016, but it quickly came back. According to market data forecast and PRN Newswire, the soluble coffee or micro-ground coffee market was worth USD 10.25 billion in 2021 and is forecasted to grow a CAGR of 5.6% to reach USD 13.46 billion by 2026. In no way is this market diminishing but only growing stronger. The consumer habits led by the pandemic have accelerated the growth as part of the home-coffee consumption growth we saw starting in 2020.
Additionally, TikTok and Instagram are also influencing consumer behaviors. Dalgona Coffee is a perfect example of this. For those not frequenting TikTok, Dalgona is a coffee that started as a TikTok trend and has exploded all over the internet. It is basically equal parts instant coffee, water, and sugar whipped together into a creamy froth. You can add milk or keep it dairy-free. A recent poll from OnePulse.com showed that 34% of consumers have ordered a custom coffee beverage because they saw it on Instagram. Additionally, 67% of those people said it “was worth the hype.” This is how the world is changing. Social media is influencing consumer behavior more and more every day.
Nestlé brought me in to work in a think tank to develop new products a while ago. They shared that coffee drinking habits are established between the ages of 18-22. This is the entry-level age where you want to connect directly and be part of that early coffee habit.
It is evident that growing sales in instant coffee is at least partially correlated to the next generation of coffee drinkers. Who is spending their time on Instagram and TikTok?? – 18-22-year-olds. This is also the age of sugar and convenience. This age demo does not want t
o sniff and describe their coffee, nor do they want to create a daily ritual to help maintain their spiritual center amongst the chaos of the world.
18-22-year-olds want to be in constant motion, stay up late and consume as much life as possible. They are not weary and so in need of the comforts of routine and ritual. They do not need to appreciate the little things in life because they are still appreciating the big stuff and have not been jaded by the crushing disappointment of reality.
So, if you want the future of coffee consumers to care about quality and care about the farmers, and what we all find essential about coffee, bring it to TikTok. Bring your coffee to Instag
ram and YouTube and make it as easy as possible for people to have and understand. Make it experiential from the comfort of their phone. Video, convenience, and the price will be the drivers with this demographic, and that’s where our future customers are right now.