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    Taste Rules in Coffee Purchasing Decisions

    More consumers value flavor over convenience and price.

    NEW YORK -- Taste takes priority over convenience when it comes to where Americans choose to buy their coffee, according to a recent Harris Poll.

    An online survey of 4,496 adults in the United States found that taste is the No. 1 factor when it comes to determining where coffee and tea buyers purchase their beverages. The survey by Harris Interactive was conducted online from Feb. 13-18.

    Sixty percent of coffee/tea buyers stated the coffee shop they visit most often is their favorite, which they selected over a more convenient shop (40 percent).

    Among coffee/tea buyers ages 18 to 35, 66 percent of coffee/tea buyers also choose a favorite shop over a closer shop. That favorite shop is likely a national chain, which 35 percent stated they typically choose, compared to the 18 percent who favor a local shop.

    Among national and regional chains, the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend study found that Dunkin' Donuts is ranked No. 1 as the Brand of the Year in the coffee and quick-service category. This award is based on qualities of familiarity, quality and purchase consideration.

    Einstein Bros. Bagels and Starbucks also ranked above the category average equity score.

    The poll also found that younger Americans are the most likely to purchase prepared coffee or tea drinks. Seventy-one percent of consumers ages 18 to 35 stated they do so, compared to 68 percent of consumers ages 36 to 47; 60 percent of consumers ages 48 to 66; and 57 percent of those 67 and older.

    Additionally, Millennials who purchase coffee or tea a few times a week or more were also the most likely to say they will give up convenience to go to their favorite place, at 66 percent.

    Seventy-eight percent of all coffee/tea buyers rate taste as a very important factor in deciding where to buy a beverage -- more than 20 points higher than any other factor, according to Harris. Fifty-four percent rated price as very important.

    Meanwhile, despite the increasing number of food options becoming available at coffee shops, only 23 percent of respondents rated variety of food choices as very important, compared to the 31 percent who said variety in beverage choices is very important.

    Coffee shop owners should also concern themselves with the growing popularity of single-serve home brewing, the survey found. Thirty-three percent of Americans reported having a single cup brewing system at home and/or work. Among this group, 70 percent said they have consciously opted to use their single-cup maker at home instead of buying a beverage at a coffee shop.

    In the EquiTrend coffee maker category, single-cup brand Keurig was named Brand of the Year for the second year in a row in 2013.

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