Odd Coffee Fact: Much of the World Favors Instant

United States is unusual in its tastes

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 19, 2014 5:58 PM CDT

(Newser) – Americans don't like instant coffee much, but we're actually kind of weird that way. Turns out nearly half the world prefers the stuff, at least as far as retail sales go, the Washington Post reports. Australians and New Zealanders, for instance, are crazy for it: More than 75% of retail brewed coffee sipped there is instant. In Eastern Europe, it's more than 50%, according to Euromonitor data. And sales are booming in India, Russia, and especially in China, where legions of newbie coffee drinkers are using the instant version as an entry point. In China, convenience is paramount when 70% of workers say they feel overworked, notes Smithsonian.

Like China, the UK has traditionally been a tea-drinking nation, but it, too, is seeing large numbers of people switch to coffee, with instant being a popular choice. Indeed, "the US is entirely unique in its aversion to instant coffee," says an analyst. "Even in Europe, where fresh coffee is preferred, instant coffee is still seen as acceptable for at-home and on-the-go consumption." Just 10% of retail brewed coffee in North America is instant; sales have been fairly stagnant for years and actually fell in 2013. In contrast, the market worldwide has been expanding at a rate of 7% to 10% a year. (Maybe Americans are too busy putting butter in their coffee.)

In this file photo, containers of Folgers instant coffee are seen on a supermarket shelf.
In this file photo, containers of Folgers instant coffee are seen on a supermarket shelf.   (AP Photo/Steven Senne, file)
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