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Saltwinds Coffee Company
Saltwinds Coffee Company
Made in the Maritimes

How Has Gen Z Changed the Meaning of Coffee?

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Coffee has shifted roles throughout the years and different generations have expressed different ways to enjoy the caffeinated drink. Gen Z has popularized iced coffee, creative coffee creation trends, and alternative milk substitutions in their beverages. For example, cold brew coffee was barley recognized in a 2015 NDCT survey but has been on the rise with an increased consumption of 50%. It’s noted that coffee has turned into a treat, social activity, or ritual to younger generations instead of “work fuel” as the older generation view the drink. With an increase in Gen Z’s interest of fun flavours and different preparation, it’s important to know how to market to this demographic. 

The power Gen Z has in sales is continuously increasing. 6.8 million of the Canadian population is in the Gen Z age range. Gen Z collectively spends approximately $15.4 billion per year. That’s a lot of money that could be put towards coffee! Let’s take a look at the coffee trends we are seeing with the Gen Z generation.

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How much coffee does Gen Z drink?

As previously mentioned, Gen Z sees coffee as a special thing as opposed to the older generations who often claim they “need the caffeine to function”. This is reflected in the amount of coffee Gen Z typically consumes. 26% of Gen Z has 1-2 cups of coffee a day, 4% has 3-4 cups, and 2% has 7+ cups. Conversely 63% do not typically drink a daily cup of coffee and the remaining 5% does not keep track.

Where does Gen Z enjoy their coffee?

14% of Gen Z has a cup of coffee at home once per day, 6% has a cup of coffee from a café once per day. The amount of coffee drank at home by Gen Z is less than all older generations, but the amount of coffee drank from a café by Gen Z is more than older generations. This reinforces the pattern of Gen Z treating coffee as a special occasion or social endeavor.

How much money does Gen Z spend on coffee?

On average Gen Z individuals spend approximately $31 on coffee weekly. This generation is twice as likely to prefer “gourmet” coffee than other generations, despite the increased price that accompanies. It’s seen with the rise of working from home more and more people are upgrading their at home coffee bars. This includes are majority of Gen Z who are known for preferring remote or hybrid work. On average Gen Z spend $116 on at home coffee machines. Gen Z is not shy to spending their disposable income on good coffee.

What kind of coffee does Gen Z drink?

Starbucks reported 74% of their drinks sold in 2021 were ordered cold. That was almost a 50% increase of cold drinks over the past 4 years. According to the National Coffee Association younger generations drive the specialty coffee sector which includes espresso-based drinks and specialty coffee beans. Young coffee drinkers show an interest in adding flavours to their coffees. The founder of The Coffee MBA says that Gen Z wants to have fun with their coffee consumptions.

Overall, Gen Z knows what they like in their coffee and stick to it! Pushing the rise of fun flavours, enjoying coffee experiences, and cold caffeine, Gen Z are trend setters in the coffee industry. With Gen Z preferences being so different from other generations, it’s important to understand where they are coming from in order to successfully market and sell to them. Knowing the trends of Gen Z’s coffee preferences and pivoting marketing and product to match their needs is integral to appeal to this savvy generation.

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