Higher sales of speciality products such as cappuccino mixes helped push up sales of instant coffee in Germany last year, according to the latest data from the Deutscher Kaffee Verband, the German coffee producers' association.
In Germany itself, instant coffee sales were up 15.1 per cent to 43,300 tons, while exports were ahead 16 per cent to 48,800 tons. Volumes are expected to rise even further this year.
But the association stressed that traditional instant coffee sales growth in the domestic market was sluggish - at just 3 per cent - with most of the increase in sales coming from cappuccino mixes and similar products, whose domestic sales rose by 21 per cent during the year.
The rise in popularity of such coffee-based products was attributed to young consumers seeking an alternative to carbonated soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. It is being driven by the proliferation of coffee shops and in-store cafés across Germany which are allowing younger consumers to experiment with a variety of coffee products for the first time.
But this is also why sales of ground coffee - seen as far less convenient - are stagnating, the DKV said. The aim now is to persuade the new generation of coffee drinkers to move on from instant speciality products to more traditional ground coffee.
While sales are expected to continue to rise in volume terms in 2003, value sales of instant coffee are unlikely to match this growth. Value sales grew by just 2 per cent in 2002 to €600 million, according to the DKV, with the supermarket chains which have helped push up volume consumption also pushing down prices as they compete with each other for share of throat.