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Branded coffee cups position themselves at the intersection of brand and sustainability

Britons are a nation of caffeine addict. Always being in a hurry does not prevent them from enjoying their hot cup of coffee. To respond to customer demands, enter branded coffee cups that are not only altering the kinetics of the food and drink industry, but are going further beyond by imposing themselves as a powerful and yet discreet marketing strategy.

Cafe culture is becoming a ritual in the United Kingdom

Worldwide, about two billion cups of coffee are consumed daily, while in the United Kingdom, approximately 55 million cups are consumed per day, according to statistics from the British Coffee Association. Cafe culture is also booming on the high street; 80% of clients visit coffee shops at least once per week and 16% visit the coffee shops daily.

A research conducted by Mintel, published recently, underlined that the coffee shop market in the United Kingdom is soaring. In 2011, it was valued at £2.4 billion and grew at an amazing speed by 37% until 2016 when it reached an impressive £3.4 billion. From 2015 to 2016, coffee sales increased by 10.4%, reflecting the biggest year-on boost in the five last years. The forecast for the next five years is promising as well. It is expected that the coffee shop market will continue its steady growth and jump to a further 29% with a value of £4.3 billion.

Mintel’s report also highlighted that coffee shops are more popular among young consumers. 73% of clients visiting coffee shops are aged between 16 to 24 years. Mintel’s Foodservice Analyst, Trish Caddy, explains that the trend is also being supported by the growing number of coffee retailers on British high streets. Multiple non-specialist venues featuring baristastyle coffee are also mushrooming everywhere in the United Kingdom, offering takeaway options, and while doing so, grabbing a thick slice of the coffee market.

Quick-service restaurants are competing with high street specialist coffee chains

The landscape of the coffee market is currently very competitive. A recent study carried out by the NPD Group has shown that branded coffee chains have increased their individual coffee servings by 21% since 2008. Nonetheless, Quick-service restaurants have not lagged behind; their coffee sales have been boosted by 63% during the same period. Pubs, on the other side, have diversified their menus and started offering more coffee, realizing its importance in the everyday life of Britons. Pubs increased their servings by 18% since 2008.

As Quick-service operators are investing more in coffee for breakfast and snacking, branded coffee shops are also expanding their business by investing in lunch bites. Well-known coffee outlets in Britain have witnessed an increase in visits: in 2008, the number of yearly visits was 120 million while in June 2017, the number of visits had blasted to 659 million.

Imposing oneself in the arena with high-quality branded coffee cups

In an environment where coffee has become part and parcel of everyday life and competition is intense between coffee outlets, branded coffee cups sit precisely at the junction of brand awareness and sustainable endeavours. Characterized wisely, they have the potential to become the icon of a business, its mini-billboard and even part of its ethos to demarcate itself from the multitude of coffee shops sprouting around.

The need to stand out in the crowd has become urgent and opting for branded coffee cups is a step to push a brand forward. They are even more impactful as traditional advertising strategies are utterly loathed by consumers at large. The latter neither trust ads nor want to be targeted by radio, TV or social media. Billboards and traditional ads are noticed for only 3 to 6 seconds, unlike coffee cups that are held for an average of 37 minutes. A consumer raises and lowers a coffee cup to eye level over 20 times.

Branded coffee cups subsequently stand as an unconscious reminder of the brand, attracting and creating customer loyalty through a passive marketing strategy. The logo, image or messages featuring on the coffee cups are the principal visual component of a business’ overall brand identity. Attractively designed, branded coffee cups can inspire trust, recognition as well as admiration for a brand.

Successive encounters with the logo, message or image of a business on a high-quality printed coffee cup may lead consumers to respond positively to the brand. Organizations may use branded coffee cups in their offices or at events to distinguish themselves from others, to appeal to potential clients, and to leave a visual imprint on the minds of the latter.

Recyclable and even better Biodegradable, Branded coffee cups are a means to promote a business as sustainable

Using recyclable or biodegradable branded coffee cups is also a sure-fire means to promote the eco-friendly advocacy of a brand. The research conducted by Mintel equally underlined that 87% of coffee drinkers try to dispose of their cups in recycling bins. 40% of coffee drinkers further stated that they would not mind paying more for coffee if it is served in a recyclable cup. In a scene where more and more consumers are becoming eco- conscious, a brand not adhering to the principles of sustainability becomes the author of its own misfortune.

If a brand positions itself as a green business having minimal impact on the environment, it will naturally urge consumers to have a positive outlook on it. Using recyclable or biodegradable branded coffee cups is a great means to green a coffee shop or any other business. Clients will be happy to note that the coffee cups of a brand, having lived its 37-minute life of a coffee vessel, will be recycled and live another post-mortem life, not polluting forests and oceans.

To go the extra mile, brands may further distinguish themselves by serving sustainable coffee, supporting environmental positive farming. Certain coffee shops have even replaced plastic stirring rods with spoons that, on the long term, also prove to be economical. Others have replaced dairy products with organic ones such as almond milk, soy milk or other vegan options.