Cold brew coffee offers exciting opportunities for the industry and packaging will play an important role in response to the trends that are shaping the growth of the category.

 (Insights by Tetra Pak)  

Globally, there is a strong growth in the importance attributed to how a drink is made and not only what the drink is. Whether its driven by health, taste or connoisseurship, we see a growing interest in beverages that are defined by the key process through which they are made.

Cold brew coffee leads the Google’s list of top trending beverage searches:



Source: Google Internal Data, U.S., U.K., Spain, Mexico, April 2015 to March 2017.

The US has clearly been the leader in setting this trend (US sales 2017 roughly $156m1, with a growth of 100% annually in value terms1) and many major players are taking advantage of this opportunity already, as we see a multitude of cold-brew options inside Starbucks and Costa’s already. It’s still spreading across the UK, Spain, and most recently, in Mexico


Behind the trend: why do consumers like cold-brew coffee?

To tackle this question Tetra Pak highlights two main drivers shaping the growth:

Indulgency: the natural and premium coffee flavor, has become an indulgence, that can be consumed at any time of day, no longer just a morning energy booster;

Functionality: a naturally healthy source of energy on-the-go, compared to other energy drinks, thanks to low or even no sugar content, with flavour-related benefits (including reducing acidity and bitterness).


Cold brew coffee is the star among millennials

The younger generations are shaping the way we drink coffee with a shift in consumption habits. Millennial coffee drinkers are seeking a healthier, more sustainable energy boost than just a “crash and burn” caffeine kick and are attracted to products which have convenience.

Out-of-home coffee is particularly big with the younger generation and no wonder that millennials, especially in urban areas, are influenced by the prevalence of coffee bars and shops.

Appealing to those consumers clearly represents a highly interesting opportunity as it can both be leveraged on directly in food service locations and as a retail ready good. Delivering a superior cold-brew coffee can drive younger consumers towards your brand. So, it is critical that you are partnering with the right beverage manufacturers and that they understand the do’s and don’t’s in the processing set-up.



It’s all about knowledge and process

Tetra Pak is committed to helping its partners to capture any opportunity to grow. To get the optimum quality means to make the right decision on two key parameters:

Brewing yourself or buying a concentrate: the choice of course depends if you are already a coffee producer or you will need to invest in equipment.  Brewing yourself means you have the full control of your product and you can control process parameters. Also, you can claim that you have a unique recipe – adding authenticity and exclusiveness to your brand! On the other hand, buying a concentrate does not require investments in equipment, and you can save time compared to when brewing yourself.

Direct or indirect heat: this step is vital, as the coffee has more than 1000 volatile compounds and there are a couple that determine the quality of the final good. These volatile components risk getting lost during the heat treatment. Tetra Pak’s test results have shown that no difference in taste between pasteurized and indirect UHT treated cold brew coffee. So far only a limited number of tests have been carried out but there is an indication that indirect UHT heat treatment results in a cold brew coffee with more aroma and taste than cold brew coffee made with direct UHT treatment.

Match a premium product with a premium package

Packaging has an important role to play in offering a gateway to greater consumer experience.  At the same time, pressure on sustainability and awareness of the circular economy will continue to grow, and eco-friendly solutions will become ever more important. There is lots of innovation happening in this area and Tetra Pak can support you to find the premium solution that it is sustainable, smart and convenient for your premium product.


  1. Source: Euromonitor 2014-2017. 156m refers to off trade i.e. Sold in supermarkets not in bars or coffee shops