This article is part of our Hot Beverages Digital Feature.

A regular cup of Joe just won’t cut it any more. So accustomed to coffee-house Java, Brits are demanding higher-quality coffee at home.

Proving just how discerning consumer tastes are becoming, sales of premium instant (which remains the biggest subcategory of coffee) only inched up in value by 0.4% [Kantar 52 w/e 19 July 2015]. Super-premium, on the other hand, secured a whopping 16.7% growth although even this pales in comparison to the surge in sales of pods.

  Value (£m) y-o-y%
Premium   246.2 0.4
Regular   223.4 -3.3
Roast & ground exc. pods 163.4 -0.1
Café-style   128.1 7.5
Pods   112.1 32.3
Decaffeinated   76.5 -3.9
Super-premium   67.4 16.7
Specialist   41.2 -10.8
Non-foaming mix   21.7 6.6
Economy   8.3 -1.4
Powder   7.2 -1.9
Organic   3.3 -1.6
Kantar 52 w/e 19 July 2015

“The growing appeal of premium coffee sectors means that the outlook for regular instant coffee is less promising,” says Kantar analyst Ed John. “Although still accounting for 20% of the coffee market, regular instant has lost £6.5m this year as shoppers become more experimental in their hot beverages repertoire and trade up to more expensive formats.”

Coffee’s biggest brands Nescafé and Kenco are driving the growth in super-premium with Azera and Millicano. “Both these brands are doing really well,” says Douglas Faughnan, senior UK food & drink analyst at Mintel. “That’s because they sit somewhere between fresh ground coffee and regular instant so it’s a nice halfway house for someone who still wants instant coffee but is looking for a more sophisticated taste without having to splash out on a Nespresso or drip filter machine.”

Kenco Millicano claims to have secured a 39% share of the wholebean instant category since its launch in 2010 and has grown 8% in the past year. This has been bolstered by the launch of a larger 170g tin and the arrival of Millicano Dark Roast, which tapped demand for stronger flavours.

Nescafé Azera, meanwhile, focused heavily on its premium qualities with its Be Your Own Barista campaign and high-end tin formats in support of the coffee shop at home message. Nescafé overall has had a good year with sales up 1.3% on volumes up 2%.

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