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Hispanic-Americans help drive growth in U.S. coffee consumption: study

By Marcy Nicholson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hispanic-Americans are leading the way in growing coffee consumption in the United States, while the number of adults under 40 who enjoy the popular drink on a daily basis has dropped, according to an industry study released on Friday.

Of the Hispanic-Americans who participated in the National Coffee Association's (NCA) National Coffee Drinking Trends 2013 market study, 76 percent said they had drunk coffee the previous day. That is up by 13 percentage points from last year.

This compares with 47 percent of African-Americans and 64 percent of Caucasian-Americans who said they had consumed coffee the day before.

This was the second year that the study included ethnicity.

The survey showed that overall coffee consumption jumped by 5 percentage points this year, with 83 percent of the U.S. adult population now drinking coffee within the past year. Daily consumption was flat at 63 percent.

Overall daily coffee consumption by adults aged 18-39, however, has dropped. Some 16 percent of the people in this age group who participated in the online survey said they had drunk an espresso-based coffee in the past day. That compared with 6 percent of those aged 60 and over. But younger consumers have cut their daily consumption of the brew overall.

"In traditional coffee, we did see a decline," said Mark DiDomenico, of market research firm Datassential, as he presented the study's findings at the National Coffee Association USA convention in San Francisco on Friday.

Among those aged 18 to 24, only 41 percent said they drank coffee daily, down sharply from 50 percent in 2012. For those aged 25-39, it dropped to 59 percent from 63 percent, the study showed.

"However, the 2013 figures are more consistent with levels in earlier years, suggesting that this year's decline indicates volatility in these segments rather than softening," the NCA stated in a release.

On the other hand, those aged 60 and above have upped their daily intake, with 76 percent of the respondents saying they drank coffee every day, versus 71 percent a year ago.

Young adults between 18 and 24 greatly reduced their daily intake of non-gourmet traditional coffee, dropping to 17 percent from 27 percent last year, the study showed.

The single-serve format, which involves machines designed to brew one cup at a time with what are called individual "pods" of coffee, continued to grow. The study showed that 13 percent of the U.S. population drank coffee made in a single-cup brewer the previous day, up from 10 percent in 2012.

"Drip coffee maker use seems to be slowly falling," DiDomenico said.

At the same time, perceptions of quality of single-cup systems remains low, though it has improved year-over-year. In 2013, 21 percent said they perceived the quality of the system to be excellent, up from 25 percent in 2012 and 15 percent in 2011, DiDomenico said.

The NCA has been conducting this study annually since 1950. This year, the online study involved 2,840 adults who were selected from an online panel with ethnicities aligned proportionately with the U.S. population's makeup. Data was collected in both English and Spanish between mid-January and mid-February 2013.

The study has an error rate of plus or minus 2.5 percent.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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