Values, Not Value: Trends to Watch at Global Specialty Coffee Expo

Danielle Ohl

Cappuccino with coffee beans on table in cafeteria.jpeg

SCAA's Global Specialty Coffee Expo is the most attended coffee event of the year. Thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors from over 75 countries converge on Seattle, WA for all things coffee. As we exhibit at this year's expo, we've compiled a few top coffee market trends to watch:

Values, Not Value

Driven by the mobile and connected Millennial generation, today's consumers look at coffee as an experience to be shared. Price, then, is not their top consideration. Rather, they look at the entire experience, from values held by the company (sustainability is a big one) to the location they purchase and consume the coffee to the product's packaging (it must be 'social media-worthy'). 

"Since many older generations drank their coffee in the comfort of their own homes, they focused on the price of the coffee they were drinking. Millennials, on the other hand, are more focused on experience rather than price. - National Coffee Blog

Gourmet on the Rise

Despite total consumption hitting a plateau, Daily Coffee News reports that consumption of gourmet coffee saw a much higher rate of increase in 2017, with ages 40 - 59 seeing the biggest increase:

  • Ages 18-24: 39 percent, up 3 percent from last year
  • Ages 25-39: 50 percent, up 9 percent from last year
  • Ages 40-59: 39 percent, up 15 percent from last year
  • Ages 60+: 34 percent, up 10 percent from last year

This trend ties in with the previous entry: As more consumers see coffee as an experience rather than just a pantry staple, interest in exotic, gourmet, and specialty roasts increases.

Quad Premade Pouches a Stand Up Choice

The packaging formats for coffee are many. The standard has long been quad seal bags, usually with a tin tie or fold over top, all created on a vertical form fill seal machine. Don't worry, these package types and equipment are not going anywhere.

However, coffee companies who seek to differentiate their product are exploring the quad premade pouch, which is gripped, filled, and sealed on a premade pouch packing machine. You simply can't beat the visual appeal of a premade bag, and coffee roasters and packagers are catching on.

Machinery to package coffee into premade quad seal pouches has come a long way. With recent advances in proprietary technology, Viking's premade pouch machines feature servo drives for maximum control and accuracy in packaging as well as previously unheard of speeds of up to 60 bags per minute per lane. 

Nitro and Booze

Nitro coffee is created by adding nitrogen to cold brewed coffee, giving it a creamy mouth feel similar to beer. This product has been available in a ready to drink (RTD) form for some time, but has only recently started to hit the mainstream with top coffee houses releasing their own versions to serve their customers on demand. 

"One-third of consumers aged 22-34 want to see more coffee houses serving alcohol in 2017. - Mintel

Along with this trend, coffee companies have begun releasing alcohol-infused coffee products as well as coffee-infused alcohol products. Coffee vodkas and cocktails have been making appearances on the market in bars, on store shelves, and even in coffee houses and cafes.


Read more about coffee packaging trends and industry news in our coffee packaging blog:

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