Canada is the fastest growing traditional coffee market in the world, surpassing former leader Japan and far outpacing the United States and all countries in Europe
By Lawrence Herzog
Performance measures presented by Coffee Association of Canada president Sandy McAlpine reveal that specialty coffee sales continue to grow by more than seven per cent a year.
It’s an extremely competitive landscape, with nearly 9,000 coffee-focused outlets vying for the trade – triple the per capita coffee locations in the United States. “Compared with the US, market competition in Canada is fought at a slightly higher quality level,” McAlpine said. “That means the average cup sold in Canada is better than in other markets.”
Premium and specialty coffee have become the new competitive battleground. Even the big boys, like Tim Hortons and McDonald’s, have recognized the potential reward, and many are now offering lattes and cappuccinos at locations nationwide.
Canadians spend more than $4 billion a year on coffee away from home, and they drink six kilograms of coffee per capita per year. That makes our away-from-home consumption second only to the espresso-loving Italians. “We’re seeing relatively stable commodity pricing for coffee, and that is producing stability in the industry for procurement, and it ensures a return for the producers without putting too much pressure on retail pricing,” said McAlpine.
The popularization of single cup brewing systems has had a big impact on the grocery channel, and is also being felt in the café segment, with boutique operators offering differential pricing. “I’ve been in this business for 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen differentiated prices at foodservice based on origin of roast,” observed McAlpine. “The new pricing models show that customers are willing pay a premium for higher quality roasts.”
They are also looking for better food and coffee pairings. “Today, the points of competition are less about the coffee and more about the baristas, the quality of the staff and the food,” he added.
Restaurants that provide a great end-of-meal experience, with top quality desserts and coffee offerings, are well positioned to increase margins and customer satisfaction.
5 top reasons to brew coffee success
- Canada’s 9,000 coffee-focused outlets share away-from-home sales now estimated at more than $4 billion a year.
- Coffee is the top beverage of choice for 64 per cent of Canadians, according to the Coffee Association of Canada.
- Specialty coffee sales are growing by more than seven per cent a year.
- Coffee is consumed in restaurants/cafés an average of 3.5 times a week, says Ipsos Reid.
- 6 of 10 Canadians are loyal to the coffee they like best, Ipsos Reid reports.