One thing specialty coffee shop owners and roasters can rely on is change.
However, it is how they adapt to the unexpected that will help their business succeed with minimal disruption. That said, certain changes can be expected, and in many cases, roasters and coffee shops can take advantage of those that apply to their business.
The advantages of following trends can range from remaining competitive to reducing the environmental impact of a coffee business’ activities. Following trends can help coffee shop owners and roasters build a larger customer base, boost their social media presence, and have a better understanding of what is happening in the industry.
For instance, a 2022 trends study found the consumption of takeaway coffee continues to rise as consumers seek the specialty coffee experience and a pre-pandemic social connection. Additionally, over 50% of consumers take sustainable packaging into consideration when selecting a product.
Roasters and coffee shop owners can profit off of these trends by providing quality takeaway coffees in cups made from sustainable materials.
To find out more about the coffee cup trends that are likely to emerge in 2023, I spoke with MTPak Coffee founder, Mark Zhou.
Coffee cup trends to expect in 2023
As the coffee industry is constantly developing, not all trends will be relevant to a roaster or coffee shop’s operations, budget, or audience.
“Observation is more important than implementing every trend that comes along,” Mark explains. “Rather observe the trend, and then see whether it fits in with your business’ long-term goals.”
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, takeaway options have been a big focus and revenue driver to coffee businesses. “By keeping an eye on coffee cup trends, these businesses can stay ahead of the curve while continuing to serve customers in a way that is new and relevant,” Mark says.
Consumers may demand bigger drinks
The effects of climate change have become clear, with temperatures climbing around the world, and parts of Europe experiencing the hottest summers on record.
This is unlikely to change in 2023, and many cities around the globe are not built to withstand rising temperatures.
As a result, 2022 saw more customers purchasing iced beverages, with some retailers experiencing up to a 30% increase in cold coffee orders.
“As more and more consumers take an interest in cold coffee beverages, cup sizes are generally getting bigger,” Mark explains. “This is to accommodate the wide range of drinks this encompasses, such as cold brew, nitro coffees, and iced lattes.”
A 2019 study found customers are now seeking cold coffee offerings all year round, and not just during the summer months.
To accommodate this, it is important that coffee shop owners and baristas note what cold drinks they plan to offer, as well as what the volumes are.
Furthermore, baristas must remain aware of the fact that additions such as ice, foam or cream will add to the drinks’ volumes.
At the same time, hot coffee will continue to sell, which means coffee shops must also accommodate standard drink sizes.
“In the hot drink category, the trend is more towards smaller, punchier drinks such as flat whites and macchiatos,” Mark says.
Sharper, brighter designs
Recent insight on packaging trends show customers are shifting away from simple minimalistic designs.
They are now favouring packaging with more vibrant colours that stand out on the shelf. Psychologists suggest consumers look for vibrant colours during times where they feel they can take risks and are ready for excitement.
This trend can take on many forms, such as nostalgic designs that step from the 60s era, with kitsch and retro-looking images, fonts and illustrations.
Additionally, 3D designs may become more popular. This refers to using colour and shadows to create an artificial 3D look which can make a cup appear artistic and futuristic.
Maximalist design is also increasing in popularity. This refers to combining and layering bright and bold colours to create an eye-catching cup that keeps the business top of mind as customers drink it.
Mark adds that focusing on quality is also important, as it can have a significant impact on consumer perceptions.
“Rather than focusing on one particular colour, the focus is now on the quality of production,” he says. “For example, when people request pink, they want it to pop. This requires the use of high-quality digital printers – which is why we prioritised the investment in the HP Indigo.”
Increased demand for sustainable materials
One trend that is unlikely to change in 2023 is the focus on sustainable and more environmentally friendly packaging.
One in three customers prefer eco-friendly packaging options, and over a third would choose it over a cheaper, less sustainable option.
When it comes to choosing takeaway cups, this will also include accessories such as lids and sleeves.
“A big focus for MTPak Coffee has always been on helping roasters and coffee shops minimise their environmental impact,” Mark says. “When it comes to accessories, the priority should be on how they can continue to do this, whether it means a truly compostable lid or a recyclable sleeve.”
However, coffee shops planning to make this choice will need to communicate this, and any relevant information regarding the cups’ disposal, to customers. This includes information on how to dispose of their cup after use, such as which bin it can be placed in.
This can be conveyed using a QR code printed on the cup, which customers can scan for added information or relevant recycling symbols.
Each of these trends could be suitable for a number of specialty coffee shops and help them keep their takeaway cups relevant in 2023.
Additionally, for those who are concerned about balancing cup aesthetic with their performance, MTPak Coffee can help.
Our design team can help you create a range of takeaway coffee cups that stand out and keep your brand front of mind.
Our range of 100% compostable takeaways coffee cups are available in three different sizes: 8oz, 12oz, and 16oz.
Our cups are made of sustainable materials, such as kraft paper or PET with PLA lining. Strong, waterproof, lightweight, and compostable, they can be customised to your preferences using digital printing or sustainable water-based inks that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOC).