Drinking coffee is a well-established habit for millions of U.S. consumers. The problem is that consumers with the highest rates of daily coffee drinking are older than 45. Will younger consumers turn to coffee for a daily jolt as they age? Marketers shouldn’t take any chances and can start looking at ways to increase the consumption rates among younger age groups now.

Mintel Oxygen notes that 66% of all consumers drink coffee every day. The fastest growing group of coffee drinkers is age 55+. But 18-24 year olds enjoy the beverage at much lower rates. Only 27% of this age group drink coffee every day.

Bill Patterson, senior analyst at Mintel, says “[y]oung adults are somewhat more likely than over-55s to associate negative health consequences with coffee consumption.”  Patterson also believes that coffee marketers need to differentiate their product from the popular energy drinks that are widely available. There’s also a taste concern. Younger consumers are far less likely than older consumers to say they enjoy the taste of unsweetened coffee.

Mintel research indicates that coffee marketers could improve sales by positioning the beverage as the perfect component to a relaxation event. In addition, product lines that are advertised as being similar to what a consumer might enjoy in a café could also see higher demand.

Look for coffee manufacturers and retailers to begin targeting younger consumers with product line extensions in order to increase sales.

[Source: Coffee marketers can warm up to young sippers for long-term growth. Mintel.com. 8 Oct. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010]