There’s one market that might not come to mind when you think of industries with huge marketing opportunities, but this one is ripe for the picking: coffee. Coffee is second only to oil as the most traded commodity on the planet. But what people don’t talk about much are the industries surrounding the coffee trade. What about the universe of ancillary products? Coffee makers, coffee cups, travel coffee mugs, French presses, flavored coffee, and various brands of instant coffee all have arisen from our love of a good cup of Joe. And it looks like we’re just starting to scratch the surface of the opportunity for this juggernaut industry.
A great example of an industry benefiting and evolving from a huge industry like coffee, is the coffee mug industry. With our fast-paced lifestyles we want to take our coffee with us and a regular mug isn’t going to do it. Along comes the travel coffee mug with secure lid that will keep the hot coffee off your lap. You can take your coffee in the go in style and express yourself with any of a galaxy of cute coffee mugs with fun designs. Who would have thought art and coffee would blend into a brand new ancillary coffee cup industry, but maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. When two industries collide, the results can be amazing.
Instant coffee is something that’s been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a dead industry. Nestle and Starbucks are examples of companies that continuously are coming out with new products. Starbucks introduced it’s VIA line of instant coffees and it has grown to be one of the single most popular instant coffee brands on the market today. These companies have proven that an old staple like instant coffee doesn’t have to be boring. They even made it feel like a new idea with their single serving packets that are quick and easy to whip up.
One of the latest innovations is the K-cup-style coffee maker. Small packet cups of pre-ground coffee are inserted into a device that pushes hot water through and into a cup. It’s quick and delicious. Keurig started this line of cup-style maker, but soon all of the other brands of coffee machine makers were jumping on the bandwagon. The market for these K-cup brewers is exploding and it’s just another indication of what can be created from a long-existing industry.
The dawn of the age of oil spawned countless industries, from cars to gas stations to plastic toys, that could even be seen to outpace the popularity of the original product in an almost viral way. These ancillary industries exploded with cheap oil, and brilliant businesses continue to create new ideas that surprise us with innovation.
The same is true with coffee. There are countless brands of coffee that source coffee from around the world. You only have to walk to the corner Starbucks, or to your local grocery store, to grab a bag of the good stuff. But the coffee industry isn’t dead and it isn’t going anywhere. Sometimes we become blind to the big opportunities that have been around a while and seem stale. With a global thirst for the delicious ground beans, industries surrounding coffee might hold some of the biggest opportunities for innovation you’ve ever seen.