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Coffee shop drinkers would pay more for ‘greener’ cups

Four out of ten coffee shop drinkers say they would be prepared to pay a premium for hot drinks to be served in 100% recyclable cups, according to a new survey.

Research from Mintel found that environmental sentiment is particularly strong among 20-24-year-olds with half (51%) saying they would be happy to pay more for cups that are made with 100% paper or are compostable; while 58% of consumers think coffee shops should offer a discount to those using their own travel mugs.

However, almost three quarters of those surveyed said that price increases would make them cut back on the number of drinks they purchase out of the home.

Consumers are also open to seeing environmentally-friendly changes introduced in other areas of the out of home market. Four in five (82%) Brits believe coffee shop outlets should provide recycling bins, while three quarters (75%) agree that restaurants should use recyclable packaging for takeaways or home delivery.

“Our research shows that while consumers have great environmental intentions, they are often very time pressured,” said Trish Caddy, foodservice analyst at Mintel. “Also, the hassle factor of carrying around reusable coffee cups could limit the popularity of schemes that reward people for doing so.”

“A more effective solution would be to make things easier for consumers by making cups more easily recyclable by, for example, using 100% biodegradable packaging rather than recycling the plastic,” Caddy added.

In 2017, Brits were estimated to have spent £3.4bn in coffee shops, according to Mintel, representing growth of just under 1% from the previous year. Over the next five years, sales are expected to increase a further 10% to reach £3.7bn by 2022.