Coffee seen as a craft beverage and a fuel for fitness, says research

Analysing over 186 million social media posts referencing coffee over the course of two years, Foresight Factory, the consumer analytics company specialising in trends, has identified the key trends of the coffee market for 2017 in its latest social media listening report. The findings reveal a consumer base that increasingly embraces a craft culture around the beverage, while novel consumption occasions are also beginning to emerge.

Two prominent trends which reflect this growing perception of coffee as a ‘craft beverage’ are the increasing ‘Instagrammability’ of the drink and the increasing status of the barista.

Over 18 million – almost one in ten – of the social media posts that Foresight Factory analysed were images or conversation about images of ‘photogenic’, visually attractive coffee. Moreover, this trend has seen huge growth over the period of the period, with 4,446% growth in these kinds of posts. Meanwhile, a smaller but perhaps more insightful trend is the rise of ‘celebrity baristas’ on social media, who showcase their technical and creative coffee-making skills to a burgeoning audience.
While coffee is gaining craft status, consumers are also increasingly drinking it beyond its conventional consumption occasions. A growing association is with health and fitness – this is not only leading to the emergence of the pre-workout coffee, which has seen a growth in social media mentions of 84 per cent, but also the appearance of the ’free from’ cold brew, which taps into a growing desire to cut dairy and sugar.

Laura Dennehy, Head of Content Solutions at Foresight Factory, commented further on these trends and what they mean for the market: “Coffee has had a storied history, with the café serving as the meeting place and coffee the fuel for the European revolutionaries of the 18th and 19th centuries.

“With these modern trends, we’re seeing the beverage enter a new phase in its evolution, as a craft drink associated with certain lifestyles and valued for its quality. Intriguingly, in our research we’ve found many parallels between the coffee and the beer market, with coffee drinkers increasingly appearing to drink it instead of beer in some situations, for example with a meal. The market is now mimicking the packaging of alcohol to borrow the premium connotations of craft beer.