New Trends Brewing for Canned Coffees

Plain black coffee can be a bitter drink to swallow. Unfortunately, most additives that improve its taste – creamer, sugar, milk – can increase the beverage’s fat and calorie content pretty dramatically. As consumers crave both tasty and low-calorie drinks – as well as more exotic flavors that shake up their normal routines – canned coffee brands have stepped up and differentiated their offerings.

Loco Coffee Co. is a great example of this. Their canned brews come with coconut water or maple water, adding light sweetness as well as electrolytes to the coffee-drinking experience. The packaging, interestingly, positions the product as almost more of an energy drink – separate and distinct from competitors like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, whose bottled coffees are typically associated with breakfast time.

Even large brands like La Colombe have gotten in on the trend. Their latest line of draft lattes are made with oat milk, which has come to replace almond milk in many consumers’ refrigerators. Just days ago Chobani announced a line of oat-based products, further cementing oats’ position as a cream alternative.


In an interview with Food Dive, Tina Meyer-Hawkes, VP of Marketing for Smucker’s coffee division, said that the modern coffee industry has to strike a delicate balance. Coffee is a very nostalgic kind of product for people, and it is difficult to incorporate nostalgia into a brand while still pushing innovation and forward thinking.

In a way, canned coffee is going through a very similar situation as bottled sodas. Consumers want familiar tastes of home, but they also want new, exotic flavors; they want sweet, but not sugar; they want energy, but are averse to consuming anything that seems unnatural. This seems to spell out a warning for the beverage industry as a whole; become adept at navigating a complex web of consumer needs that are often contradictory, or risk losing buyers. Most importantly, brands must  stay true to the emotional core of purchasing decisions, while also looking to the future and responding to evolving preferences.

We have called out these trends on Instagram, where we are running a new series called #TrendTuesday. Follow Works Design Group’s account for weekly insights for a variety of categories from across the grocery store.


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