Apparently, having more Starbucks drive-thrus on street corners and delivery options is not enough to keep some java junkies from turning to ready-to-drink coffee.
According to a new Mintel report, growth in the number of coffee shops in the U.S. is slowing but the ready-to-drink coffee business is heating up. With more grocery store shelves stocked with different coffee flavors and brands, consumers have found taste, convenience and value in the on-the-go cold brew.
"The ready-to-drink market is certainly a strong competitor to kind of traditional coffee shops because these drinks have become more premium, more specialized and come in a variety of flavors as well," said Caleb Bryant, senior foodservice analyst at Mintel. "And generally they might be less expensive than something you get at a coffee shop."
Mintel estimates the U.S. coffeehouse market will achieve sales of about $23.4 billion in 2017, representing 41 percent growth from 2011. It forecasts coffeehouse sales will reach $28.7 billion by 2021, or up about 23 percent from this year.
However, the researcher said the total number of coffee shops in the U.S. is expected to grow only 2.17 percent this year, making it the slowest growth rate since 2011.
Bryant said Starbucks is focusing on the so-called third-wave coffee with its Roastery and Reserve Bars. "They are offering these more premium third-wave beverages in addition to the kind of traditional Frappuccinos offered at a regular Starbucks," he said.