Trends of the UK Coffee Shop Industry

If there's one thing that the coffee industry can rely upon, it's the ongoing popularity of coffee. According to the Statista Global Consumer Survey, coffee ties with tea as the UK's most consumed drink, with 70% of coffee drinkers enjoying at least two cups (or more) a day.

While the popularity of coffee has remained consistent throughout the last couple years, the coffee shop industry is ever-changing as coffee shops strive to innovate and cater to changing markets and consumer priorities.

Discover some of the top trends we expect to see developing in 2023 and beyond to ensure your UK coffee shop franchise is ahead of the curve.

Coffee Shop Health & Wellness

To ensure coffee shops remain inviting and popular for their customers, cafes need to keep on top of their health and wellness practices. These practices include things like providing more options that cater for specific dietary requirements such as gluten-free and low-sugar options.

We also expect to see an ongoing popularity with interest in click and collect services to ensure customers can enjoy professional barista-grade coffee for when on the go.

Supporting Independent Coffee Shops

Independent coffee shops and local stores have a reputation for offering high-quality artisan coffee and a more personal coffee shop experience.

Local coffee shops have risen in popularity over the past couple years and this increase doesn't show any signs of stopping, especially as the findings of The Allegra Group's Impact of Coffee survey revealed that 65% of people stated that they would visit local coffee shops to show their support.

68% of people also said that supporting their local coffee shops was an important factor when deciding where to buy their brew.

Sustainable & Ethical Coffee

The conversation around sustainability and ethically-sourced coffee is nothing new, but it's becoming increasingly important to consider as more people become aware of social issues they had been previously ignorant about.

We expect to see more coffee shops using eco-friendly practices such as compostable cups and utensils, and sourcing coffee beans from sustainable sources.

The story behind where coffee comes from, who farms it, and its environmental impact is now even more firmly at the forefront of the mindful coffee consumer's mind.

Reducing Waste From Packaging

In 2022 operators around the world made efforts to tackle disposable coffee cup waste, mainly by introducing various recycling collection points or encouraging people to use reusable cups. In March 2022, Starbucks created a 'cultural movement' towards the use of reusable coffee cups in stores all around the world, this received a lot of praise from its customers.

Many coffee consumers take waste into consideration when buying their favourite brew, so it is important to promote the ways in which your organisation plans to prevent the waste of packaging, whether this is through reusable cups or recycling points.

Someone holding coffee beans in a bucket

Coffee Farmer Welfare

When it comes to ethical practices, one of the primary concerns for consumers and coffee companies is fair wages for coffee farmers. Of those surveyed, 71% of people stated that the good treatment of farmers and fair pay was an important factor when choosing which coffee shops to support.

Despite this interest in farmer welfare, only 19% admitted to knowing the origins of their recent coffee purchases. This highlights a great opportunity for coffee shops to refine their marketing campaigns over the next year to craft an authentic story around the journey of their coffee and their company ethos.

Coffee Shop Design

Attracting customers to coffee shops is a main priority, and one great way to rejuvenate a coffee shop is through design. While drastic remodels are unlikely, we expect the refreshing of interiors and creation of multi-functional spaces to become more widespread over the next few years.

While coffee shop design should always offer comfort and create a social environment, areas where customers can work in peace are also essential as the popularity of remote and hybrid work lifestyles rises. Individual tables or pods are becoming more popular as they allow out-of-office workers a less isolated, yet still productive, space to work.

Speciality Drinks

Speciality drinks have dominated the coffee industry recently. From pour-overs to cold brew, the demand for unique, high quality coffee drinks shows no sign of slowing down. Many coffee shops will continue to offer a variety of specialty drinks in order to satisfy all customers.

coffee art

Healthy Coffee Options & Milk Alternatives

The trend towards more health-conscious food and drink choices continues to grow, which is reflected in the increasingly diverse menu options we're seeing in all coffee shops.

Healthy coffee shop drinks like matcha lattes and turmeric coffee are now firm fixtures of many cafe menus, along with numerous milk alternatives.

Staples like soy, oat, almond and coconut milk have never been more popular, and we're beginning to see the rise of even more alternatives, including rice, pea-protein and potato milk also being used by baristas!

Although classics like the Americano, flat white and latte will continue to reign supreme, the next few years will be characterised by an ever-increasing number of alternative drinks as coffee shops aim to cater to every kind of coffee drinker.

As well as coffee, we can't forget about having a variety of food options. As more and more people adopt plant-based diets, coffee shops will start to offer more options for vegans and vegetarians, including vegan sandwiches and pastries.

coffee shop neon signDrive-through Coffee

The UK coffee drive-through market has been growing over the last couple years with chains opening more stores with the drive through facility. Drive-throughs are convenient for many people and allow people to eat and drink from the comfort of their car.

Coffee drive-throughs have increased in popularity recently with 70% of UK consumers under the age of 30 indicating that they would utilise the drive-through format if it was available.

Adapting to the changing trends of the coffee shop industry requires market knowledge and expertise. Cafes without this can be left behind as they try to keep up with their more innovative competitors.

Here at Esquires Coffee, our franchise partners are supported by our vast experience in the coffee shop industry, allowing them to keep on top of all the latest trends and reach their full potential.

If you would like to find out more about becoming an Esquires franchise, take a look at our frequently asked questions to see if you've got what it takes.