INSIGHT-Single-serve coffee coup saves beans, spares sink
By Luc Cohen
NEW YORK Feb 8 (Reuters) - Stephen Shapiro says he "couldn't survive" without his Keurig single-serve coffee machine.
"I wake up, before I even go to the bathroom I turn my Keurig on," said the 75-year-old retired health food store owner, who splits his time between New York and Boca Raton, Florida.
Before he bought the machine more than six years ago, he used a traditional drip brewer, and would pour between a third and a half of the coffee he brewed each morning into the sink. With the Keurig machine, that's no longer the case.
"There's no waste at all," Shapiro said. "You brew what you drink and that's it."
Sales of coffee pods for the slick single-serve machines like Keurig Green Mountain's Keurig, Nestle's Nespresso, and Starbucks' Verismo soared to $3.8 billion in 2014 from $234 million in 2009, Mintel market research data shows. Keurig, the maker of the most popular machine, has seen its shares rise to about $118.90 on Friday from about $9 in February 2009.
Stealing market share from traditional roasted coffee, the phenomenon is transforming the coffee industry in less obvious ways too: the single-cup pods are increasing efficiency, denting demand for beans as Americans, like Shapiro, throw less leftover java down the drain.
Traders often quip that before single serve coffee pods gained prominence, the sink was the world's largest coffee consumer.
Now, Nielsen data seen by Reuters but not publicly available shows Americans bought 967 million pounds of coffee from retail outlets in the 52 weeks ended Dec. 20, 2014, a 1.2 percent decline from the prior year. Nielsen spokeswoman Meg Chari confirmed the figures but declined to provide the original report or the figures from prior years, which are available only to customers. Continuación...