The most popular coffee in the UK is …

Allegra Strategies published a report at the end of last year called Project Café12, which revealed some interesting facts and figures about the UK coffee shop market.

coffee cushionsI attended The London Coffee Festival in April, which appears to have grown in popularity since its inaugural event in 2011, and this reflects the increasing popularity of coffee across the UK.

For instance, the total number of coffee shop outlets in the UK has risen from 5,400 in 1999 to 15,723 in 2012, and this is in spite of some terrible economic conditions. Here are some more interesting facts from the Allegra report:

  • 93% of consumers use high street coffee chains
  • 38% use local independents
  • 25% use department stores.

I like this statistic in particular, because it demonstrates that we often complain about ‘chains’, but still enjoy spending our money there. I remember when Starbucks used to be considered expensive, but I now find that it’s one of the cheapest cups of coffee I can get, with many ‘independent’ outlets charging 50p more for a cappuccino. That’s a significant difference, and am I really drinking a better quality coffee?

Of the reasons cited for choosing any particular coffee shop, ‘convenient location’ came out on top, with 33% of us preferring to shop where we drop. The quality of the coffee was secondary to convenience (but only just) on 32%, while ‘habit’ was 6%. The last statistic reveals that we are just as likely to search for new experiences as we are to remain loyal to any one brand.

What surprises me is that the most popular coffee choice in the UK is a latte (a whopping 30%), with my favourite cappuccino in second on 19%.

I’m glad I was reminded about the presentation slides from Allegra’s lab session at The London Coffee Festival, as it was a good event – very lively and full of excellent food and drink producers. Here’s to another strong summer of coffee – mine’s a cold one.