September 22, 2019

Coffee selfies could carve out a niche in crowded hot drinks market

The increasing number of hot drinks on supermarket shelves means new products have to demonstrate innovation in order to stand out from established brands. According to a recent report by Canadean, hot beverages offering consumers novel and fun experiences, such as customising their drinks through foam art, could spell a new era for the products.

Canadean’s research states that consumers reported the desire for personalised hot drinks influenced 11.6 per cent of their consumption in 2015.

Veronika Zhupanova, Analyst for Canadean, says it is little surprise that the sheer variety of hot beverages on retail aisles leaves many consumers feeling overwhelmed by choice.

Veronika comments: “This presents a huge challenge to drinks manufacturers, as they seek to offer something truly unique. Providing consumers with an opportunity to personalise drinks, especially at home, offers a sense of novelty and can create an emotional connection with consumers.”

The analyst adds that while flavour customisation is a particularly popular trend right now, there are various new methods being developed to make hot drinks feel personalised.

Some manufacturers are investing heavily in foam art, which is currently generating a huge buzz. For example, the Ripple Maker coffee machine prints images on coffee foam using 3D techniques, which can replicate images uploaded by the user and print personalised messages.

Veronika continues: “The product offers genuinely new experiences of personalisation, with the technology capable of producing a coffee containing your own ‘selfie’, for example. However, at such a large price point of $999, it is currently far too expensive to appeal to the mass market.”

While waiting for this kind of technology to become cheaper, manufacturers can take inspiration from more affordable solutions, such as the dissolvable latte art strips from Japanese company, Takara Tomy Arts Co. The item allows consumers to create a number of shapes in their beverage, including cartoon characters.

“It is highly likely that concepts like foam art and dissolvable strips will remain niche, representing a novelty rather than a sustained trend. The personalisation concept that underpins them, however, will have a long-term impact on the hot drinks market,” added Zhupanova.