4 coffee trends to satisfy student cravings

snacking mobile phones coffee

From Keurig Green Mountain.

University students are on a quest to discover their own tastes and preferences, and that includes beverages — especially specialty coffees.

Study sessions are usually fueled with coffee, and plenty of it. Hard-working students look to break monotony with variety, and they also want to treat themselves. Limited time offerings of flavored coffees coupled with seasonal variations are one way to satisfy these cravings. Here are four ways to do so.

Seasons change

The most natural time to change up beverage menus is when seasons turn — 32% of consumers say their preferences tend to change depending on the season, according to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report. Consumers want to enjoy the bounty of spring and summer produce and are looking for light and lively refreshment. In fall and winter, they want warm and comforting flavors and festive drinks. Single-serve systems are perfect for accommodating these changing tastes, from coconut coffee in the spring to the ever-popular pumpkin spice for autumn.

Iced is nice anytime

Every season is right for iced coffee, at least for some consumers — around 10% of Americans get iced coffee every day, and iced coffee surpasses popular beverages like energy drinks, sports drinks, and others, according to Datassential’s Coffee & Tea Overview.

Purchasing impulses for iced coffee vary. Gen Z and Millennials are much more likely to purchase iced coffee for “energy/pick me up” occasions, while Gen X and Boomers are more likely to purchase iced coffee for “refreshment” or “treat” occasions, according to Technomic’s Beverage Trends Away from Home. For operators, iced coffee boasts high margins of 80+% as well.

A rising subcategory of iced is cold-brew coffee. This type of coffee is produced via longer brewing times using cold water that insures a smooth, full-bodied brew with less acidity. Cold-brew is hugely popular: mentions of cold brew on iced coffee menus have increased 56% year-over-year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor.

LTO means unlimited opportunity

Coffee LTOs are a terrific way to test market appeal of different coffee flavors. But how to discern which flavors are trending? Overall, the fastest-growing flavor is marshmallow, according to MenuMonitor, which has increased 55% year-over-year. That’s followed by berry, trending up 36% and honey, up 31%.

One good way to discover the next “it” coffee flavor is to monitor trends in other beverage segments to consider how they might translate to coffee. For example, confectionary flavors — whipped cream, cupcake and marshmallow, for example — are trending in other beverage categories. Glazed doughnut or cinnamon roll coffee flavors may appeal to these consumers.

Keep it simple

Offering unique and seasonal sips can keep coffee drinkers interested. And in the college and university segment, where coffee is a round-the-clock drink, that opportunity is huge.

Of course, college and university foodservice operators can research and create their own flavored coffees, but with large batches, maintaining consistent quality as well as keeping up with rotating LTOs can be challenging. That’s why many operators turn to single-serve brewing systems such as Keurig® for their coffee programs. This type of brewer especially makes sense on sprawling university campuses.

Because college coffee service goes far beyond the dining halls and retail foodservice outlets to encompass study centers, bookstores, athletic stadiums and catering venues, as well as administrative offices, break rooms and professors’ lounges, these single-serve brewing systems fit every need and nook on campus.  And with single-serve cups, operators can satisfy a broad customer base and accommodate every daypart.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

Ideas and Innovation
plastic cutlery

At St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., protecting the environment and supporting the health and well-being of its employees and communities go hand in hand. FoodService Director spoke to Kevin Krueger, procurement and sustainability manager for the hospital, to learn about the strategies it employs to carry out that mission.

Q: What strategies have you put in place to help meet your diners’ expectations around sustainability?

A: One of the first projects I took on when I started here was removing products made of expanded polystyrene from our retail operation, which was...

Ideas and Innovation
fresh lettuce

High school students in the School District of West Salem in West Salem, Wis., have access to fresh lettuce at their garden bars and in premade salads at lunch through the district’s aquaponics garden, which will be expanded to include herb towers this fall.

This spring, the district is also broadening its sustainable and local sourcing efforts by planting 55 apple trees as part of the district’s new “food forest.” Director of Nutrition Services Kerri Feyen says the district stayed away from a traditional school garden or farm due to the central Wisconsin climate the district is...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code