The coffee brands consumers are using at home

Field Agent's research shows Tim Hortons and private label are doing well as the out-of-home coffee market dramatically shrinks.


Coffee is largely recession- and pandemic-proof, but even though Canadians are continuing to get their java fix, they are changing their shopping behaviours and consumption patterns to do it.

According to a Field Agent study, 79% of the 718 respondents reported drinking coffee on a regular basis. The average number of cups consumed a day is holding relatively steady at 2.4, while 51% of coffee drinkers reported that their pantry cupboard has about the same amount of coffee in it now as it did before COVID-19 took hold. However, before social distancing, 91% of coffee were purchasing drinks outside the home, which has decline to 46% in the last week. Among the survey’s other findings, two servings per day was the most common amount pre-physical distancing, and is now down slightly to one.

Tim Hortons’ at-home products are the number one choice among coffee drinkers, with 23% of survey respondents reporting having used the brand at home in the past month, over-indexing to women and those between 35 and 44. Tim Hortons was followed in popularity by Maxwell House and grocery store brands (21% each), Starbucks (19%), Folgers (18%), Nescafe (17%) and McCafé (15%).

While most people have used Tim Hortons at home at least once in the last month, it is not the brand respondents used the most often. Private label brands take top spot there, with 13% saying they use brands like No Name and President’s Choice most frequently. Tim Hortons was second (11%), followed by Nescafe, Starbucks, Folgers and Maxwell House, at 8% each. One quarter of respondents had used instant coffee at home in the past week, and is the biggest segment among respondents for new trial.

The top three coffee machines Canadians report currently owning at home, meanwhile, are drip coffee (56%), K-Cup devices (40%), Nespresso (12%) and Tassimo (10%).




When it comes to where coffee is being regularly purchased for preparation at home, fewer respondents say they are visiting Walmart, Costco and grocery banners than they did prior to the pandemic, with Costco seeing the biggest decline. Prior to physical distancing, 36% of survey respondents reported buying coffee for preparation at home from Costco, compared with only 26% in the past month. Supermarkets, the most commonly used spots for at home brew purchasing, saw declines from 43% of survey respondents pre-pandemic, to 35% this month. Walmart went from 31% to 21%.

Amazon coffee orders are holding steady, with 6% of respondents reporting that they regularly purchase coffee for at home use through the online retail behemoth. Coffee in online grocery orders, meanwhile, are only up 1% from pre-pandemic levels, to 3%.

Among those that are still venturing outside the home for coffee, Tim Hortons is the most popular destination, and Field Agent says it is gaining share as the overall out-of-home coffee market shrinks.