January 30/Chicago/PRNewswire -- While instant, ground or whole bean coffee are the most popular choices for the at-home barista, single-cup coffee still has an audience, as recent Mintel research reveals that 17% of coffee drinkers say they prefer their coffee one cup at a time.

Not surprisingly, the most popular draw for single-cup coffee lovers is convenience. Some 79% of those who enjoy single-cup coffee agree that they drink it because it is convenient to brew. Meanwhile, 60% cite the ability to brew a hot cup every time instead of reheating a full pot, and 55% say they like the variety available in pods.

"Those aged 18-44 are notably more likely than their older counterparts to cite convenience as a reason for using pod-style machines," says Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel. "This is likely a reflection of the fact that for younger adults, coffee is often seen as an on-the-go beverage that can provide a needed energy boost."

In addition to convenience, flavor and value are also important to single-cup coffee drinkers; 39% report that brewing at home with a pod-style machine is cheaper than visiting a coffeehouse, while 20% believe single-cup coffee tastes better than the ground variety, and 38% say a pod-style machine produces consistent taste each time compared to coffee brewed with a traditional coffeemaker.

"A key driver of sales growth in the coffee category is innovation. The single-cup segment of the coffee business is driving growth and is likely to continue to contribute to gains for the foreseeable future," adds Garima Goel Lal. "Consumers in the U.S., the European Union, and elsewhere have been using espresso machines to make single cups of coffee for many years, and single-cup machines provide similar results, but are less complicated to operate than an espresso machine."

So why are more consumers not using pod-style coffee machines? Price seems to be one of the main deterrents, as 36% of those who do not drink single-cup coffee say the machines are too expensive and 30% believe pods are more expensive than brewing ground coffee.

 From the January 31, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.