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 2021 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 remains consistent, 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 into 2022 and beyond to ensure your UK coffee shop franchise is ahead of the curve.

The Effect of COVID-19 on the Coffee Shop Industry

While most coffee shops are now open and largely back to ‘normal’, the pandemic has prompted some lasting changes that will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future.

Coffee Shop Health & Safety

To ensure coffee shops remain open and able to serve customers, cafes need to keep on top of their health and safety practices. These practices include things like providing outdoor seating, asking customers and staff to wear face masks and asking for customers to make contactless payments when possible.

We also expect to see a sustained interest in click and collect services to ensure customers can enjoy professional barista-grade coffee without the worry of crowded areas.

A barista with a mask pouring coffee

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. While the pandemic affected all parties in the coffee shop industry, smaller businesses were hit harder.

Experts suggest that it will take at least three years for the coffee shop industry to return to pre-pandemic levels. As businesses move into this period of recovery and growth, we expect to see a more concerted effort from consumers to support local and independent stores.

The findings of The Allegra Group’s 2021 Impact of Coffee survey revealed that 65% of people stated that they would visit local coffee shops over the next months to support them as they bounce back from the pandemic.

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 in the wake of the pandemic as more people became aware of social issues they had been previously ignorant about.

For many, the pandemic represents a turning point when it comes to purchasing habits and consumer behaviours. 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.

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

In a post-pandemic world, attracting customers back 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. Individual tables or pods are becoming more popular as they allow out-of-office workers a less isolated, yet still productive, space to work.

A coffee shop with a retro design

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.

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.

FAQs for franchising with Esquires Coffee

About the author - Jack Anderson

Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.