Americans’ taste in coffee might be getting more high-end—with a growing fixation on perfectly roasted beans, pricier caffeinated concoctions, and artisan coffee brewers—but it turns out a surprisingly big part of the world is going in the opposite direction: towards instant coffee.
Sales of instant coffee—the kind that dissolves in hot water and has been popularized by brands like Nescafe—have nearly tripled since 2000, according to data from market research firm Euromonitor. The world consumed nearly $31 billion-worth last year, and is expected to drink more than $35 billion-worth by 2018. Instant coffee accounts for more than 34 percent of all the retail brewed coffee consumed around the world.
The rise has been as steady as it has been substantial.
Who exactly is drinking all this instant coffee?
Well, a lot of people. But also, a very specific type of people: amateur coffee drinkers.
"The markets where instant coffee is most popular tend to be the ones without a strong tradition of coffee drinking," Dana LaMendola, and industry analyst at Euromonitor, said in an interview. "It's basically an entry point."
As the firm's new industry report puts it:
In newer coffee-drinking regions, instant coffee is appealing because of its ability to satisfy the needs of new coffee drinkers and their evolving tastes. Unlike established coffee markets, where coffee is a product with well-defined perceptions of taste, strength and origin, in emerging coffee markets, coffee is viewed as a multi-purpose product with endless functional and flavor 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.
But the appeal of instant coffee hasn't been lost on other, more developed markets. Almost half of the world actually prefers it.
Australians like the stuff more than anyone else—instant coffee accounts for over 75 percent of retail brewed coffee consumed in Australia and New Zealand, the highest percentage registered for any region. Even those regions more often associated with coffee snobbery are still guilty of giving in to the more convenient kind, too. Europeans might favor fresh beans, but they certainly appreciate the occasional instant coffee indulgence. In Eastern Europe, instant coffee accounts for over 50 percent of overall retail brewed coffee consumption; in Western Europe, it accounts for more than 25 percent; and together, the two regions drink 40 percent of the world's instant coffee.
Read the rest of the article at the Washington Post