Brought to you by Curtis Coffee Equipment.
OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — It’s no secret that most convenience retailers are pressed for counter space. But that shouldn’t be a barrier to what could potentially be a major revenue boost. Thanks to modern technology, c-stores can expand their cold-beverage selections as more consumers step away from soda and look for other options.
Consumer consumption of iced coffee and tea is trending, according to Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at research firm Technomic. The share of consumers buying fountain drinks and iced tea in convenience stores for lunch and dinner dayparts has increased from 2013, with a 23% increase for fountain drinks and 27% for tea.
Tea in particular has grown in popularity. “The advent of flavored iced teas, organics and naturally sweetened selections, as well as the new sparkling teas, is drawing additional attention to the category,” said Crecca.
Additionally, the United States has embraced the cold-coffee trend more than most countries, especially in foodservice, according to recent Mintel research. Restaurants and coffeehouses jump-started the trend in 2012, when shares of cold coffee on menus had increased 22%. Now, iced coffee and tea have transcended a summer-only appeal, particularly as consumers look to widen their variety of cold beverages.
“The fact that so many consumers feel that coffee makes them more productive at work explains why energy drinks and shots have been such a huge growth market, appealing to people’s desire to have more than just a tasty and refreshing drink but one which actually alters their mood,” Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, has said. Iced coffee and tea has just as much appeal as a chilled, easy-to-drink beverage.
For c-stores wanting to bump up their iced-tea and iced-coffee offerings even with limited space, the good news is there are equipment and solutions out there to help.
Modern technology has paved the way for brewing iced tea and coffee in one compact dual-brewing machine to save space. Curtis Coffee Equipment’s machine uses G3 technology, for example, which brews coffee or iced coffee and tea in two separate containers at the same time using a shared programming control pad. Coffee is brewed straight for hot or cold consumption, while tea is brewed as a concentrate and then diluted with water before dispensing.
Machines can be programmed for a full or half brew during less busy times when beverages need refreshing. The save mode automatically activates when the brewer is idle.
Operators looking to save shelf space on packaged iced-tea products, however, and offer an in-house brewed iced tea can use the “tuneability” function through two separate precision valves to fine-tune and adjust tea concentration for regular, tropical, sweet and other tea flavors.
While the dual tea and coffee machine might not be suitable for regular coffee production at higher volume stores, the smaller unit can help brew fresh iced tea and coffee during off-peak hours or as part of a late-night program.