- A recent study indicates a moderate increase in the coffee pods market for the next eight years — predicting a steady 2.2% rise in sales to surpass 14.6 million by the end of this year. To improve sales and entice coffee connoisseurs, however, industry leaders in the coffee pods market are introducing premium and specialty coffee pods, the Fact.MR study notes.
- A lead analyst at Fact.MR says sustainability likely will continue to be a big trend in the coffee pod market, especially as some governments ban the use of single-use plastic pods. The analyst predicts a huge rise in demand for hard coffee pods and a drop in sales of soft pods, which are single-use.
- Dark-roasted coffee pods remain a top pick for coffee lovers. The report notes that different types of coffee roasts enables players in the coffee pods market to adopt specific strategies to attract certain java consumers. Though demand for regular coffee pods outpaces that for decaffeinated products, those without caffeine are gaining popularity among older consumers and coffee lovers with caffeine allergies.
It seems America's love affair with coffee pods is slowing, as consumers become increasingly concerned about throwing used plastic pods into landfills and as they call for bolder and more unique coffee experiences. The pods took off in the U.S. because they allowed consumers with a Keurig-style machine easy access to a range of coffee flavors.
But while that experience may still appeal to older consumers, it may be too low-brow for millennial and Generation Z drinkers, who grew up buying specialty coffee drinks in coffee house and cafes. Younger java lovers also have concerns about environmental sustainability, driving companies to look for ways to push biodegradable or reusable pods. Keurig Green Mountain, for example, has shared plans to change the plastic makeup of its K-cup pods to make them more profitable for recyclers to take on. Keurig officials have boldly said its goal is to encourage 100% recycling of the redesigned pods. Whether that will be enough to keep the pods out of landfills is still an open question.
At least three other coffee makers are finding their way into the sustainability market, as their pods have gained certification from the Biodegradable Products Institute. Club Coffee's PurPod100 was the first and is sold under several brands. Rogers Family Co.'s pods are used by San Francisco Organic Coffee Co. and others. Certified pods from Canturbury Coffee Corp. are used in its OneCoffee brand.
And the pod market certainly isn't fading away. Nestlé will likely continue to be a major player in the coffee pods market as the company partners with various other players, such as Starbucks Corporation, to enhance its international market footprint.
But other coffee companies smartly are moving away from the idea of pods altogether. Bean-to-cup machines, for example, could perform well in the mainstream as machine prices fall. Bean-to-cup grinds fresh coffee beans with every use, allowing makers to sell the idea of freshness and quality flavor, as well as a chance for consumers to try a variety of flavors or bean types. If machine prices fall within affordability for the average consumer, one could certainly expect to see this market explode.
The coffee market can certainly expect to remain strong among U.S. consumers and those around the world in coming years. But as the demand for single-use coffee pods cools, beverage companies must be nimble in developing sustainable containers and premium coffee experiences, or risk being thrown out like yesterday's cold grinds.