In addition to having a fan base among Millennials, cold brew coffee is an on-trend, profitable specialty coffee that Fast Casual operators can offer throughout the day. Datassential noted in 2015 that cold brew was in its inception phase but it quickly gathered momentum, with higher purchase interest from females, Millennials, Hispanic customers, and Asian consumers. In fact, Millennials – an adventurous group known for seeking out new and different flavors – currently account for around 47% of the country’s specialty coffee demand. Craig Basiliere, Vice President of National Accounts at Nestlé Professional, points out that cold brew offers a much different experience than traditional coffee because it is less bitter and less acidic. “The flavors are so bright, crisp, and bold,” he says. “Even people who don’t like coffee are drinking cold brew. Cold brew coffee offers outlets that didn’t previously have a coffee presence the opportunity to offer customers an on-trend beverage that is craveable and profitable.”
Pair cold brew coffee with a chocolate croissant, raspberry danish, or slice of apple pie for a sweet combination customers crave.
While conventional cold brew can take up to 24 hours to brew, concentrates speed up the process. “Millennials are the center of the bull’s-eye for most Fast Casual chains, and cold brew is what this segment is looking for,” says Basiliere. “If customers know they can get a great cold brew at their favorite restaurant rather than having to make a separate stop, they will return again and again.”
Cold brew expands beverage menu options. “It is a great base upon which to customize a favorite beverage. Cold brew lends itself to meal and snack occasions that span the entire day,” Basiliere says. He adds that profitability is high, with iced coffee typically priced lower than cold brew.
Cold brew coffee spans dayparts and seasons through customization. In winter, adding chocolate or warm-in-flavor spices such as cardamom and cloves can warm up cold brew. “Many of the brown spices bring out the earthiness,” Basiliere notes.
Consumers connect with brands that actively promote sustainability. According to Craig Basiliere, “Consumers want assurance through outlets such as 4C and other global certification programs that their food and beverage choices are sustainable.”
Its smooth flavor, no bitterness and subtle chocolaty notes, makes cold brew an ingredient adaptable not only for creative beverages but also for dishes. Basiliere says cold brew is great mixed with heavy cream and powdered sugar for a cold brew whipped cream. When toasted spices are added, cold brew’s inherent chocolate flavor notes are enhanced.
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SOURCES: Datassential, FoodBytes, June 2015 | Datassential, FoodBytes, August 2015 | Datassential, Next Generation Coffee Rituals, August 2016 | Datassential, CPP, 2015