Coffee remains the top beverage choice at breakfast

Bacon, eggs, a biscuit, and a cup of coffee…Pancakes, sausage and a cup of java…Egg McMuffin, hash browns and coffee to go…Oatmeal, fresh fruit and…yes, coffee. Although more than half of Americans skip breakfast these days, if they are eating it, no matter what – or where – they eat, a new survey reveals that Americans ‘go to’ beverage in the morning is still the cup of joe, and that cup being ‘good old’ filtered coffee., a division of iTech Media, conducted a survey of breakfast habits across the United States to see what Americans are eating and drinking. The findings showed that 55% of respondents skip breakfast regularly while 10% eat breakfast on-the-go, and for those grabbing that breakfast on-the-go, the top choice is McDonald’s. 

Of the respondents who opt for a beverage with breakfast, nearly half – 48.4% – choose coffee. At a distant second, is water, at 19.5%, followed by juice (14.2%). Of course, there are those Americans who like tea at breakfast but the survey found that contingent trails far behind at 7.4% (hot tea). 

What may be a surprise to some, the favourite style or type of coffee at breakfast is filtered coffee — the preferred choice of 62.3% of survey respondents. The second choice, though significantly smaller, is the latte at 16.3%, followed by espresso at 6.2%, cappuccino at 4.4% and mocha at 4.1% (see infographic). 

Although filtered coffee dominates, researchers noted that when looking at the data from a generational perspective – Boomers to Gen Z – there is a 27.5% uptick between the groups with the trend amongst younger demographics towards coffees like lattes rather than filtered coffee. 

Curiously, among the coffee data, the only iced or cold coffee segment is Frappuccino’s/frappes, which accounted for 2.9%. The last category was ‘other’ (3.8%), which might factor in other espresso-blended beverages as well as cold brew/nitro cold brew and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees (although ‘latte’ might be a catch-all phrase for all espresso-based coffees). 

The absence of specialty coffee drinks is a bit confounding as the National Coffee Association’s spring National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) Survey shows that in 2023, 52% of consumers in the US are drinking specialty coffee. That number is up from 34% in 2008. ‘Specialty coffee’ in 2008 included espresso, cappuccino, latte, café mocha, traditional specialty coffee and frozen blended coffee. Today, ‘specialty coffee’ also includes caffè Americano, macchiato, flat white, cold brew coffee and nitro cold brew. Furthermore, the NCDT survey reported that younger Americans, non-Caucasians drive consumption of espresso-based beverages. The strength of the broader specialty coffee category is driven by those under 40 years with the 25 – 39 demo driving espresso -based beverage consumption. According to the study, those under 40 also have a stronger propensity to consume cold coffee beverages. (See the Specialty Coffee is Resilient blog for more details.) 

RTD tea was not mentioned in any capacity either, which is also peculiar as it accounts for more than 85% of tea sales in the US and continues to grow in popularity, particularly in herbal/botanical teas. surveyed 10,000 Americans in May 2023 about their breakfast habits. The ages ranged between 18-70 with all participants residing in the United States. Approximately 50% were male, 47% were female, and 3% identified as non-binary or other. If conducts this survey annually, it will be interesting to see how the results change from year to year and if we will see more defined segmentation among the categories such as espresso-blended or espresso-based beverages, cold brew/nitro, RTD coffee/tea or iced coffee/tea, etc. 

For now, as I am working remotely and do not have access to my French press, I am going ‘old school’ and brewing a pot of coffee with a classic automatic drip coffee maker! 

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