Coffee Fuels Fitness (Yeah!)

I am still in “holiday” mode (hence my holiday-themed headshot) because as I write this, Christmas decorations are still ubiquitous in my current – albeit temporary – suburban location. I have been using this as a reason to delay my New Year’s Resolutions, which sounds better than saying I’ve already broken them, but this excuse has a short statute of limitations. Yet, little did I know that I’ve been aiding one of my resolutions – to intensify my workouts – all along.

A new report from Foresight Factory, a consumer analytics company specialising in trends, identified key coffee market trends in 2017. Analysing more than 186 million social media posts referencing coffee over the course of two years, the study reveals a consumer base that increasingly embraces a craft culture around coffee while novel consumption occasions are also beginning to emerge.

According to the report, two prominent trends that 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 analyzed were images or conversations about images of ‘photogenic,’ visually attractive coffee. Moreover, this trend has seen tremendous growth during this period — a 4,446% surge in these kinds of posts. (Given this, I feel less guilty about constantly posting images of the myriad coffee and teas I sample while travelling!)

Foresight Factory also found a smaller trend is the rise of ‘celebrity baristas’ on social media who showcase their technical and creative coffee-making skills to a burgeoning audience.

Concurrent with coffee gaining craft status, consumers are also increasingly drinking it beyond its conventional consumption occasions. What particularly peaked my interest is a growing association 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%, but also the appearance of cold brew, which feeds into a growing desire to cut dairy and sugar.

“The growth of cold brew correlates to a wider development, where coffee is becoming incorporated into the fitness and healthy living trend as a pre-workout drink,” says Laura Dennehy, head of content solutions at Foresight Factory. “The inception of protein coffee demonstrates how this represents an opportunity for new product development.”

These findings offer inspiration for numerous opportunities to tap into consumers’ consumption habits and their attitude towards coffee for commercial advantage. For example, Dennehy says that paying attention to the aesthetic qualities of the packaging and the drink itself plays into consumer desire for ‘photogenic’ coffee. “The over-arching narrative of a more ‘craft’ perception of the drink should yield different approaches to the market, with potential for partnerships with food and hospitality companies and a distinct approach to marketing.”

However, I’m still focused on the emergence of the “pre-workout” coffee, which is not new to me as I routinely head to my cycling class with a travel mug of coffee and a bottle of water! Yet, it’s a new year so maybe I should try something new. Should I abandon my French Press in favour of pour-over coffee? Or shall I go with the cold brew? I won’t go as far as Bulletproof Coffee but maybe I should try a flat white (that would give an energy boost thanks to the milk)? Ahh, so many choices…

Happy Coffee Consuming and “Instagramming” (and, of course, Happy New Year)!

Photo courtesy of Abbotsford Road Coffee Specialists

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