On-the-go or in-the-home: Where are people drinking their brews now?

Carolyn Hall
August 25, 2021

Once upon a time there was a world where people scampered from one place to another, grabbing a coffee every now and then. Or a smoothie on their way back from the gym (not me, admittedly). Or stopped in a nice cafe for a cup of tea and a pastry (more my speed). Whatever their drink of choice, they built it into their day wherever they were. 

Then all that stopped. All of a sudden we were sitting on the sofa or at the kitchen table with that same drink instead. Except it wasn’t really the same drink, was it? It was less fancy. We had to make it ourselves and chances are there wasn’t a delicious, flaky item alongside it. It was just wasn’t…the same. 

So we adapted. Coffee subscriptions and high end ready-to-drink lattes took off as aficionados realised they weren’t getting back to their hipster coffee shop soon. People invested in posh coffee machines - bean-to-cup affairs, pods, espresso machines, milk steamers - to recreate their perfect cup of Java. 

But now, much of the world is opening up again. Will people flock back to cafes and juice bars, leaving their coffee machines and smoothie blenders to gather dust next to that spiralizer that seemed such a good idea at the time?

We’ve been looking into it, asking our bees about how their drinking habits (and associated spending habits) have changed. For a start 55% of our coffee-drinking bees say their habits have changed since the start of the pandemic. We’re also seeing that spend is shifting and perhaps those machines won’t be gathering dust after all. Here’s a taster of what our bees have told us: 

“I now just buy more coffee for the house (pods, beans etc) and probably spend more money now on machines and gadgets for the home coffee brew” 

“I now buy from small businesses and have invested in buying beans from small businesses”

We’re looking to answer some critical questions that will help beverage brands find out where their consumers want to do their drinking now, and in the future. Things like:

  • What alternatives to on-the-go drinks were most popular during lockdown - and which are here to stay?
  • How are people spending their money on drinks now - and what upsell opportunities do brands have available to them?
  • How are new working patterns impacting drinks behaviour?

My colleague, Tim Benner, will be presenting a webinar on this very topic on 1st September. He’ll share our findings and will provide guidance for drinks brands - whether they’re targeting the at-home or on-the-go market - with tips to uncover hot new growth opportunities. If you’d like to join him, you can register here.