• 65% of consumers think reusable or recyclable packaging is important
  • Half of Brits (49%) say they are more likely to support brands who are actively reducing their impact on the environment
  • Almost three fifths (57%) of consumers say they find it difficult to know what brands are taking steps to support the environment and which are not

As we celebrate International Coffee Day (1st October), expert coffee roaster and producer Lincoln & York, has commissioned a survey to delve into consumer’s coffee drinking habits, and crucially what is important when choosing their cup of Joe both in and out of home.

The research, which surveyed 2,000 adults across the UK, found while we may be known across the world for our tea, at heart Brits are a nation of coffee lovers. Almost nine in ten (87%) of those surveyed buy coffee to consume at home, on average 42 times a year. When it comes to our out of home habits, three quarters (75%) will purchase a coffee when out and about, doing so on average 50 times a year, although almost a third (32%) do so at least once a week.

Climate change, and the resulting volatile weather, is having an impact across the globe on crop production. This, coupled with a landscape of inflation, will have an impact on the future of the coffee supply chain and prices. In order to continue to enjoy the beverage loved by so many, shining the spotlight on sustainability and producing a more sustainable product is no longer a nice to have but a must do.

This has been part of Lincoln & York’s ethos since the company was founded. What’s more, consumers are paying attention too, with the research finding that consumers are actively seeking sustainable options…

  • Ensuring the packaging is reusable, or recyclable is important for two thirds of those who buy for the home (65%)
  • Ensuring the coffee is sustainably sourced is also high on the agenda for 63% of consumers
  • Half of Brits (49%) say they are more likely to support brands who are actively reducing their impact on the environment
  • 42% consider the environment more in all of the purchases they make

In addition, sustainable options become notably more important when we look to younger consumers (aged 18-34), with 71% of these shoppers looking for reusable or recyclable packaging and those looking for sustainably sourced coffee increasing to 76% within this age group.

However, the research also found that brands are not being transparent enough when it comes to their sustainability efforts. In fact, almost three fifths (57%) say they find it difficult to know which brands are taking steps to support the environment, and which are not.

One step that both brands and businesses can incorporate and clearly showcase via packaging or through signage in-store is certifications that consumers can simply and quickly identify. Over 80% of the coffee that Lincoln & York supply is certified either Fairtrade, Organic or Rainforest Alliance, ensuring our partners can offer consumers a sustainable and ethical option.

The Fairtrade mark was the most recognised (92%), with almost half (47%) stating they always, or try to buy coffee with this mark. This is followed by the rainforest alliance mark (68%) and the carbon trust (34%). OF&G Organic (28%) and UTZ certified are the least known coffee certifications in the UK. Once again younger groups aged 18-34 are most likely to know the less popular certifications with three quarters (75%) recognising the Rainforest Alliance, 57% the Carbon Trust, 46% OF&G Organic and 44% UTZ certified.

Ross Schofield, Commercial Director at Lincoln & York, said: “Consumer shopping habits – both for the home and when exploring our vibrant out of home industry – have changed. Today’s consumer is much more conscious and aware of the impact their purchasing habits have. The consumer research commissioned cements our belief that actively prioritising our sustainability agenda from increasing the amount of certified coffee we supply, to investing in innovative recyclable packaging and being a zero waste to landfill business – is the right thing to do.

“We believe that when it comes to creating a better future for us all, you can never stand still. International Coffee Day is a time for us to pause and reflect on the industry we know inside out, and have loved for decades. More importantly, by listening to what our customers tell us on a daily basis, and now consumers too, it gives us the opportunity to continue to drive our sustainability agenda forward, and continue to innovative and explore new technologies and solutions to allow not just us, but our trusted partners to be the best we can all possibly be.”

Lincoln & York, trusted coffee partners since 1994, help businesses all across the country be more sustainable. The business uses 100% renewable electricity, installed solar panels and an air source heat pump at its warehouse, as well as investing in training. The team has also been busy investing resource in innovative recyclable packaging. The LDPE4 recyclable film, first introduced in 2020, has since gone on to win awards due to the ease with which it can be recycled. What’s more, since 2019 Lincoln & York has been a zero waste to landfill site.

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