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The Diversified Palete of Canadian Coffee Drinkers
Part 2 in a 3-part series
Basic economics tells us that consumer demand will generally influence what the market supplies, while on the other hand, increased supply (and distribution and promotion) of new and/or improved products will drive greater demand.

In the case of coffee, Canadians’ increasingly diversified palate has led to a more responsive and equally diversified industry. And, as shown in the chart below, Canadians appear to be responding favourably to the many changes in the industry’s offerings:
  • In the last four years, lattes and espresso have seen a surge in popularity. Latte preference has tripled, from 7% in 2009 to 21% in 2013, while espresso consumption over the same period more than doubled, from 5% to 13%. Despite both categories being ranked separately in the survey, both showed similar gains between 2011 and 2013.
  • Brewed coffee, found in establishments such as Tim Hortons, has increased by 8% over the last four years. After a 1% dip in preference in 2011, there was nearly a 10% surge between 2011 and 2013.
  • Instant coffee has nearly doubled in preference, rising from 12% in 2009 to 21% in 2013, with 12% of the increase occurring between 2011 and 2013.
  • French press usage has seen a 5% increase, from 2% in 2009 and 2011 to 7% in 2013.



N = 1,015   Source: The Bridge (Feb 2013) - zinc tank's online survey of Canadian social media users

Between 2011 and 2013 in particular there were major shifts in coffee drinkers’ preferences – or were these spikes more to do with supply? As discussed in the first article in this series, the increased interest in premium-blend and speciality coffees could be the result of their greater availability in major restaurant and café chains. Meanwhile, on the home front, the big news has been the arrival of premium-grade instant coffee and up-market coffee makers.

Either way, whether supply- or demand-driven, the changes have been welcomed by coffee drinkers. And, as shown in the next article in this series, it's been good news, too, for vendors serving them.