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Hot drink provision - how have trends changed?

coffee istock
Credit: Istock

8 May 2017 | FM World team


If there’s one element of catering that has changed most surprisingly over the past decade or so, it’s hot drink provision. 


From the competition between the high street chains to end-user appetite for an ever-wider variety of products, the choices we collectively make are informing fresh approaches to the humble tea and coffee facilities. So on behalf of FreshGround, providers of workplace coffee and water solutions, we recently surveyed readers about the service. And here’s what we found.

How is hot drink consumption in your workplace changing?

Sixty per cent of FMs said their end-users craved a greater variety of beverage. The remainder said they were seeing more people go out for meetings at coffee shops. We know that the choice on the high street has never been greater, nor the variety of choices. The use of coffee shops as ‘third spaces’ in which to get work done has become something of an industry in itself in cities across the UK. But back in the office, it’s clear that workers crave the variety they’ve come to expect on the high street. Fortunately, FreshGround and other suppliers are increasing the range of products needed to sate this appetite.


Coffee: which of these is most important? Branding, ethical sourcing, the energy efficiency of coffee machines or the availability of speciality coffees?

(See graph below) Brand of coffee scored highest, with quality of coffee also scoring highly among those answering under the ‘other’ category. It’s interesting to note the power of brand in the market for hot drinks, and that users are keen on ethical sourcing. 


What criteria do you use when selecting coffee and water services?

It’s the well-worn issue of cost that dominates here, with close to half of our respondents citing ‘cost of service’ as their key selection criterion. Interestingly, close to 40 per cent of the remainder went for reputation of provider or brand of service, suggesting that maintaining a strong brand image is important. The perceived reliability of coffee machine came a long way down the list at 13 per cent, suggesting service is recognised more through the product itself than its delivery. 


FreshGround Preference Poll graph