Indian instant coffee brands gain from Covid-19 boosted consumption

INDIA – Covid-19 brought a new normal where people were confined in their homes, staying for hours in front of their computers with a few other activities to do apart from drowning in cups of coffee.

Pressed for time and with increasing household chores, some hardcore “filter coffee” enthusiasts have moved to the faster and more convenient instant coffee, pushing the sales of instant coffee.

This phenomenon led to an unprecedented rise in coffee consumption providing a much needed boost to instant coffee brands in Asia’s second largest economy.

Levista, a coffee brand from Karnataka’s SLN Coffee said its top-line grew by over 50% during April to December 2020, and increased its retail presence from 26,000 points of sale in Feb to over 42,000 by December.

Food company iD Fresh, on the other hand, has seen sales for its instant filter coffee liquid product grow by almost 70% in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Rahul Gandhi, CMO, iD Fresh Food, said that as food service joints and restaurants remained shut during the lockdown, consumers took to easier and faster coffee options at home due to kitchen fatigue.

“An analysis of customer preference on e-commerce channels showed us that many filter coffee users shifted to our instant liquid option,”Ghandhi added.

To maintain the interest of consumers, instant coffee brands including Nestle, Levista Coffee, and ID Fresh are either ramping up distribution networks or innovating with coffee variants in instant form to meet rising demand and changes in consumption pattern.

Levista Coffee for instance notes that the surge in demand during the lockdown prompted it to create three new blends -Strong, Bold and Intense- for their instant filter coffee liquid.

Levista also launched four types of flavoured coffee — vanilla, chocolate orange, caramel and hazelnut — for the younger demographic.

Though die hard “filter coffee” users or those who buy freshly ground coffee are hard to convert, we witnessed a number of consumers moving permanently from other leading brands to Levista during this period, said Shriram S, VP of Levista Coffee.

“Due to continued work-related calls and video conferences, people had to keep consuming some beverage or the other, and preferably a hot beverage. So, overall coffee consumption increased leaps and bounds,” he said.

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