By Mintel

Summer is just around the corner which means consumers across the globe will be reaching for cool, refreshing beverages. According to latest research from Mintel Global New Products Database, cold coffee has drinkers buzzing, as around one in five (19 percent) global new coffee launches was iced, ready-to-drink (RTD) in 2017, up from 16 percent in 2015.

Chilled coffee is thriving in the US, growing at least 10 percent annually between 2013-17. In fact, more than half (56 percent) of new RTD coffee launches in the US were cold brew in 2017, up from 38 percent the year prior. Meanwhile, RTD coffee is also building momentum in China. Mintel forecasts annual growth of near an estimated 20 percent in the next five years as RTD steals more share from instant coffee.

Globally, Japan leads in RTD coffee innovation, accounting for 18 percent of all iced RTD coffee launches in 2017. The US follows, accounting for 13 percent of these launches in 2017, up from 10 percent in 2016.

But despite the rapid rate of growth of RTD elsewhere in the world, Europeans remain resistant to the lure of iced coffee. While Spanish consumers are most likely to have tried iced/chilled coffee in Europe, only 10 percent have actually purchased it either from a store or online. Meanwhile, in “coffee purist” countries like France and Italy, purchase of iced/chilled coffee among all adults is just 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.

While Europe has been slower to follow the iced coffee boom, Mintel highlights strong potential among younger drinkers. Two-thirds (66 percent) of UK 18-24-year-old coffee drinkers say chilled coffee is a good alternative to sugary drinks, compared to a quarter (26 percent) of drinkers aged 45+. This echoes what is happening in America where younger drinkers, who are less ingrained in the ritual of drinking coffee hot, have driven RTD coffee growth. Some 68 percent of US 18-34-year-olds currently consume single-serve RTD coffee (in bottles or cans), compared to 43 percent of total US adults.

“Global investment in chilled, RTD coffee has increased as producers target a younger drinker who enjoys the format’s taste, refreshment and indulgence,” said Jonny Forsyth, associate director for Mintel Food & Drink. “RTD coffee is proving a better format for innovation than other hot-serve formats and, in 2017, manufacturers continued to push the format’s boundaries. Cold brew is helping to premiumise the RTD category, and is growing fast in the US, albeit less so in other markets.”