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Branded coffee chains make headway in UK iced beverage market

World Coffee Portal research shows more UK consumers are heading to branded coffee chains than independents for iced beverage purchases, indicating the once niche product is firmly ensconced in the UK mainstream – but sales remain heavily dependent on warm weather

Costa Coffee is the most frequented location for iced beverage consumers in the UK | Photo credit: Costa Coffee


Iced beverage consumers are turning to branded coffee chains over independents for their chilled caffeine fix, according to the latest World Coffee Portal research. 83% of respondents surveyed in the Cakes, Shakes & Tea Breaks UK 2022 ordered from a branded chain in the last 12 months compared with 42% from an independent. 

Costa Coffee, the UK’s largest coffee shop chain with nearly 2,800 outlets, is the most frequented location for iced beverage consumers, with 79% of respondents having purchased from the chain over the last 12 months. 

In June 2022, Costa Coffee announced the roll-out of 1,100 new Costa Express self-serve machines across the UK this summer with the new machines capable of serving both hot and iced beverages, a 'world first' according to the coffee chain. 

Seattle-based Starbucks, which operates over 1,100 outlets in the UK, was the second-most visited chain for iced beverage purchases (58.2%) ahead of London-headquartered Caffè Nero (37.8%), which operates approximately 620 stores across the UK. 

Costa Coffee and Starbucks both experienced a marginal decline in iced beverage consumers in 2022, whereas Caffè Nero, food-to-go and coffee chain Pret A Manger and Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons all experienced increased demand for iced beverages compared to 2021. 

Consumers report positively on the variation of iced beverages available in UK coffee shops and 66% believe chains promote their iced beverage menu effectively. Less than 8% disagree. 

However, the report reiterates previous data findings which indicate that the frequency of iced beverage purchases remains seasonal. 

Whereas consumers in the US are increasingly embracing iced beverages as a year-round staple, the Cakes, Shakes & Tea Breaks UK 2022 report found that most UK consumers buy iced beverages less than once a month (36.8%), and purchases are overwhelmingly more frequent during warmer months with sales declining from September. 

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