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Coffee Syrup Trends 2024

February 14, 2024

Coffee Syrup Trends 2024

Tap into new tastes – Coffee Syrup Trends 2024

Coffee is contending with a range of challenges while still holding so much potential.

Economic and health trends are making consumers feel either less willing or less able to buy coffee products. Brands need to be increasingly aware of consumers concerns around caffeine, and good sleep health in particular, as well as the money concerns forcing committed coffee lovers to turn to cheaper alternatives.

This has fuelled growth for some producers though, with own-label coffee brands enjoying 39% growth in value sales from 2020/21 to 2022/23, up from £146m to £203m*. The category is also benefitting from spending cutbacks elsewhere too since coffees offer affordable little luxuries – just over a quarter of drinkers choose coffee to treat themselves*. And market research suggests there is a range of ways to appeal to younger drinkers in particular.

As such, there are a range of opportunities available for coffee syrup brands to capitalise on. Coffee syrups can help drinkers to create more affordable, healthier or entirely new coffee flavours.

Factors for coffee drinkers

Coffee Syrup

Coffee lovers primarily reach for the drink for its flavours, followed by its invigorating benefits – 62% of all regular coffee drinkers choose the drink to enjoy its taste while 37% drink coffee to get an energy boost*.

However, depending on the demographic, the weighting for these factors can change. For under-35s, for example, the above are weighted almost equally – 45% drink coffee to enjoy the taste, and 46% for an energy boost*. This offers opportunities to create flavoured coffees targeted towards the younger drinkers less likely to be loyal to a particular flavour profile of coffee.

Development of different coffee flavours will also appeal to the 45% (of those who don’t cite enjoying the taste as their deciding factor for drinking coffee) open to experimenting with new flavours at home**.

Flavoured coffee products are already a growing area. Flavoured products have gained market share in recent years – making up 18% of launches in both 2022 and 2023, up from 10% in 2020 and 13% in 2021***. Many of these use familiar, sweet flavours like caramel, chocolate and hazelnut. Trending or seasonal flavours are also popular, including salted caramel, pumpkin spice, raspberry, and vanilla.

Coffee flavour trends

At Simpsons, our most popular coffee syrup flavours tend to have rich tastes like caramel, hazelnut or salted caramel, or use failsafe flavours like chocolate (milk, or white), vanilla, or pumpkin spice. Across the coffee market, these are used in a range of formats too – such as Starbucks’ caramel-flavoured coffee pods, and Beanies’ vanilla flavour instant coffee.

Coffee syrup flavours are also starting to take inspiration from wider drinks trends, including floral notes, spicy ingredients, or decadent dessert-style flavours.

Cinnamon Spiced Coffee

Spices like cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger can be added to make warming coffees that feel cosy and comforting, suiting the recent drinks trend for spicy kicks to drinks. Another internationally inspired trend, for sesame, could see seeds like this or nuts like pistachio or macadamia added to coffee syrups.

A range of fruits can be added to syrups to complement coffee’s flavours too, including stoned fruits like apricot, cherry and date, or tropical fruits like banana and mango to suit coffee’s usual terroir of equatorial regions.

For rich or unusual coffee flavours, inspiration can be taken from desserts like tiramisu or biscotti to make flavourful coffee syrups, or from ever-popular floral flavours. Lavender, rose or hibiscus are all floral notes familiar to drinkers and able to be paired with coffee’s depth and breadth of flavour, creating aromatic drinks synonymous with relaxing and suiting the 36% of coffee drinkers who use their brew to relax*.

NPD opportunities

For those younger drinkers seeking vitality and energy boosts from their coffee, coffee syrups could be used to add fortification as well as flavour. Including ingredients that offer extra health benefits will appeal to the 48% of all coffee drinkers interested in adding supplements with health benefits to their coffees~. Amongst under-35s, 75% are interested in this (76% of 16-24s, and 74% of 25-34s~).

Adding functional benefits to coffees – using vitamins or minerals to enhance flavoured coffee syrups, for example – also adds a new positioning for coffee; since claims cannot be made about caffeine itself offering energy, focus or physical performance benefits. Ingredients like guarana or ginseng, already used in energy drinks and teas that closely compete with coffees, are another option here.

Aligning flavoured coffees with wider health trends will also help coffee syrup brands needing to work within the new HFSS regulations. Ready-to-drink coffees and coffee mixes with added sugar are subject to the legislation which restricts how foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar can be advertised or positioned. Coffee syrups using reduced sugar will avoid the challenges presented by changes to where and products can be promoted. And since many coffee drinks are already HFSS-compliant, they will benefit from competing treats having their visibility restricted.

Low sugar or fortified coffee syrups would also cater to the 47% of drinkers who’d like to be able to make healthier versions of food service coffees~~ – rising to 72% amongst under 35s. Alternatives in the form of new coffee recipes are also appealing, with 40% of instant coffee drinkers and 55% of under 35s interested in experimenting in this way~~. Linking these two factors offers opportunities for coffee syrup brands to create products with big taste but low sugar and low calories.

Chocolate Frappe with Cream

Coffee syrup flavours could also be positioned as the easy ingredient in a recipe allowing drinkers to make decadent creations topped with cream and treats, perfect for sharing on socials. On-pack recipes and instructions hold largely untapped potential here, putting ideas in shoppers’ eye-line rather than waiting for inspiration to be sought out online.

At-home options increasingly suit the consumers who are cutting back on certain spending to cope with the increasing cost-of-living.

Money concerns have caused 39% of coffee drinkers to switch to cheaper coffee formats~~~, such as instant coffee. Again, this is an area where figures rise for the under 35s, up to 56%~~~. Coffee syrups can offer drinkers opportunity to recreate and enjoy food service standard drinks at-home. Wholesale coffee syrups can support on-trade to maintain sales in the face of the income squeeze too, offering affordable produce to make up beverages.

Capitalise on Coffee Syrup Trends in 2024

Simpsons are experts in the development and manufacture of coffee syrups, working with brands to produce retail and wholesale coffee syrups. Chat to our team today to start work on your next product or project.


*Kantar Profiles/Mintel, July 2023 – Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Page 51

**Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Page 53

***Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Page 80

~Kantar Profiles/Mintel, July 2023 – Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Pages 15 & 57

~~Kantar Profiles/Mintel, July 2023 – Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Pages 64 & 60

~~~Kantar Profiles/Mintel, July 2023 – Mintel, Coffee UK, 2023 – Pages 59-60

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