Instant coffee in decline as mobile baristas prevail

Approximately 10.4 million Australians (56 per cent of the population aged 14+) consume coffee in an average week, suggesting that Australia almost more than any other is a nation full of coffee-drinkers.

However, recent studies have shown that the landscape of coffee consumption in Australia is changing, with consumers becoming more discerning about the type of coffee they are drinking. There has been a shift away from instant coffee, and a move towards high quality barista-made coffee, particularly in the workplace.

Traditionally, instant coffee has been a workplace staple for its convenience-factor and ease of preparation for busy individuals. However, the latest Roy Morgan State of the Nation report suggests that there has been a significant decrease in the proportion of Australians who are purchasing instant coffee. The report suggests that in the five-year period leading up to June 2011, the number of Australians that purchased instant coffee in an average four-week period declined from 47 per cent to 43 per cent.

Identifiable trends such as our ever-increasing penchant for being ‘coffee snobs’ point strongly to this figure having continued to plummet in the interim to now.

The same report concludes that there has been a significant increase in the consumption of fresh, barista-made coffee with fresh coffee purchases increasing from 24 per cent to 26 per cent. Once again, this is a figure most likely to have significantly increased.

This steady decline in instant coffee and the trend towards barista-made coffee is probably most evident in the average Australian workplace, with employees prepared to leave the office and pay a visit to their local barista rather than drink instant.

The trend has seen the market for mobile coffee vans boom, as barista’s now producing café-quality coffee come to the time poor professional, instead of the other way around. Australian-owned international mobile coffee franchise Cafe2U is enjoying unprecedented popularity, producing over 6 million coffees for its Australian customers every year.

New Cafe2U Franchise Partner Shell Wilson from Armadale has continued the franchises growth in WA, after identifying a sound business opportunity with an income guarantee of $500. "That guarantee instilled a lot of confidence in the brand and I have a Franchise Coach helping me launch the business here, including helping me find customers and develop business routines. That’s been the biggest relief."

With Mercedes Benz vans housing state of the art coffee making equipment, Cafe2U vans are invited to pull up outside of work places and provide a service once restricted to a coffee shop.

“The figures show that coffee palettes are maturing and members of the workforce are willing to leave work to get a decent coffee in place of having an instant coffee”, said Derek Black, the Managing Director of Cafe2U.

“However being busy, workers might not always find the time to get to a café. Mobile coffee businesses such as Cafe2U are thriving in this current climate because we can bring this barista service directly to the worker. They can save time without compromising on quality,” added Black.