Research by Mintel has revealed that Britain’s coffee shop drinkers are happy to do their bit for the environment – but not at any cost.
With the government announcing plans this week to eliminate avoidable waste as part of its 25-year environmental plan, much focus has been on the so-called ‘latte levy’.
According to Mintel’s findings, while Brits love their coffee, many also love the environment too with as many as 40% of out-of-home hot drinks consumers saying they wouldn’t mind paying extra for drinks served in 100% recyclable cups.
This sentiment is particularly strong among 20-24-year-olds, with half (51%) saying the same. Furthermore, 58% of consumers think coffee shops should offer a discount to those using their own travel mugs
Although the nation is keen to cut down on packaging waste, price is an issue for many, with three quarters (73%) of coffee shop drinkers admitting price increases would make them cut back on out-of-home drinking.
However, consumers are open to seeing environmentally-friendly changes introduced in other areas of the coffee shop.
Four in five (82%) Brits believe coffee shop outlets should provide recycling bins, while three quarters (75%) agree restaurants should use recyclable packaging for takeaway/home delivery; a view which is particularly strong among the over 45s (78%).
Commenting on the findings, Trish Caddy, foodservice analyst at Mintel, said: “The BBC’s Blue Planet II series really catapulted plastic pollution back into the public debate, and some businesses are already taking the lead in helping ‘nudge’ consumers to play their part in reducing waste.
“Our research shows that while consumers have great environmental intentions, they are often very time pressured. Also, the hassle factor of carrying around reusable coffee cups could limit the popularity of schemes that reward people for doing so.
“A more effective solution would be to make things easier for consumers by making cups more easily recyclable by, for example, using 100% biodegradable packaging rather than recycling the plastic.”
In 2017, Brits were estimated to have spent £3.4 billion in coffee shops, growing just under 1% from the previous year. Over the next five years, coffee shop sales are expected to increase a further 10% to reach £3.7 billion by 2022.
Overall, four in five (79%) Brits bought a hot drink out of home in 2017**, rising to 90% of younger Millennials aged 18-27. Meanwhile, coffee shops are drawing 87% of parents of children under the age of 16.
“Younger Millennials and parents make up the core consumers for coffee shops. Younger Millennials are drawn to new offerings, while parents care about ethical sourcing and premium quality experiences. However, our research shows that this group is spreading their budget across a larger number of establishments that now sell coffee, including non-specialists that have expanded into low-cost coffee alongside food offerings. This move threatens to take market share from coffee shops,” added Caddy.