Consumers interested in cold brew coffee in European retail: Mintel

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Cold brew coffee has become popular in the US, but the segment is still emerging in European retail. But Mintel observes that the concept is attracting interest from consumers this summer. 

In Italy, 44% of respondents to a recent Mintel survey said they were interested in trying cold brew coffee (defined by Mintel as coffee beans soaked in cold water to extract flavor and then sold in RTD cans or bottles). In France this figure was 31%, in Spain it was 51%, and in Poland 51%.

In Germany, just over a quarter (27%) said they were interested in trying cold brew coffee, with most interest coming from the 25-34 year old age group (46%). In this market, the segment is being boosted by the entry of Mövenpick’s Cold Brew Coffee this summer: a high profile launch Mintel predicts will boost consumer awareness.

Platform for innovation

Consumers are increasingly interested in ‘craft’ production methods and new taste sensations, said Julia Buech, food and drink analyst, Germany.  

“As an upscale taste and quality differentiator, ‘cold brew’ also offers a platform for innovation to the retail sector,” she said.

“In the US, the concept went from niche to standard in just a few years: two in five (41%) retail launches of RTD coffee introductions between 2015 and 2016 were cold brew products. In stark contrast, the segment has only just emerged in European retail, with 2.5% of RTD coffee launches during that time having carried the cold brew descriptor.

“Initially defined by import brands, the niche segment is gathering steam as a growing number of local players are joining the game.”

The foodservice sector is a step ahead and also embracing nitro cold brew, added Buech. In nitro coffee, the injection of nitrogen into cold brew coffee provides a smoother, silky texture with a foamy head that mimics cream. With less bitterness, there is less desire for adding sugar and thus it is well-positioned to meet expectations from health-conscious consumers, says Mintel.

In Germany, interest in trying nitro cold-brew coffee peaks among 16-24 year olds, with 47% keen to experience the beverage.

“The concept of nitro cold brew, a method to lend drinks a smooth and creamy texture without adding calories, is likely to be the next step for innovation in the RTD coffee sector, and it can also lend a point of differentiation to adjacent drinks categories,” said Buech. 

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