Instant coffee grows in popularity
The tastes of the true coffee connoisseur might be getting more high-end, but a big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: towards instant coffee.
Sales have nearly tripled since 2000, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor. The world consumed nearly US$31 billion-worth last year, a figure expected to rise to US$35 billion by 2018. Instant coffee accounts for more than 34 per cent of all the retail brewed coffee consumed around the world.
"The markets where instant coffee is most popular tend to be the ones without a strong tradition of coffee drinking," said industry analyst at Euromonitor, Dana LaMendola. "It's basically an entry point."
The firm's industry report says that in newer coffee-drinking regions, instant coffee satisfies "evolving tastes", while in established markets, coffee has well-defined perceptions of taste, strength and origin.
It adds: "In emerging markets, coffee is viewed as a multi-purpose product with endless functional and flavour possibilities."
Perhaps that helps explain why India and China are two of the fastest growing markets, or why Asia Pacific is the world's largest instant coffee consuming region by sales. The appeal of instant coffee hasn't been lost on more developed markets. Almost half of the world prefers it.
Instant coffee accounts for over 75 per cent of retail coffee consumed in Australia and New Zealand, the highest percentage registered for any region.
Together, Eastern and Western Europe drinks 40 per cent of the world's instant coffee.
The only exception is the US.
"The US is entirely unique in its aversion to instant coffee," LaMendola said.