This week Down Under

Nescafé sales drop as smaller brands and coffee joints gain favour

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Related tags: Nutrition

The proportion of Australians buying instant coffee has declined over the last five years, while fresh coffee sales have increased, market research has found. 

The proportion of Australian grocery-buyers who regularly bought instant coffee between 2011 and 2016 slipped by 10 percentage points to 49.4%. Over the time, those who bought fresh coffee increased from 28% to 30%.

Long-time leader Nescafé remains the most popular brand of instant coffee by a sizeable margin, with its various varieties purchased by almost half of all instant-coffee buyers. Indeed, three Nescafé lines—Blend 43, Gold Blend and Espresso—feature among the country’s 10 top-selling instant coffees.


However, this represents a substantial decrease from March 2012, when 57% of instant-coffee buyers opted for Nescafé. In fact, with the exception of a slight drop in International Roast purchases, the brand’s downward trajectory appears to be the primary reason for the overall decline in the instant coffee category.

While Blend 43, bought regularly by 32% of instant-coffee buyers, remains Australia’s best-selling instant coffee by far, it has lost ground. Gold Blend has also fallen, from 15% to 10.6%, but Nescafé’s Espresso has inched up, from 6% to 7%.

Moccona, purchased by 33% of instant-coffee buyers, remains a distant second, again with three blends in the Top 10, all of which are increasing in popularity with Australian grocery buyers.

Australian grocery buyers seem to be turning away from instant coffee. However, on closer inspection, we find that this decline is not so much category-wide, as the result of Nescafé’s two leading varieties losing popularity​,” said Norman Morris of Roy Morgan Research. 

Indeed, most of the smaller players have actually experienced moderate growth since April 2011.

Despite its downturn, Nescafe retains a very comfortable category lead, although with Moccona’s consistent growth the coffee giant needs to be vigilant, ensuring that it is targeting the most appropriate audience​,” Morris added. 

According to Roy Morgan data, Nescafé buyers are most likely to be aged 50 or older and belong to lower-income brackets. What’s more, the brand’s popularity is far from consistent across all states.

Although more grocery buyers are purchasing fresh coffee than they were five years ago, this growth hasn’t been steep enough to be responsible for instant coffee’s total decline. 

The continued rise in café visitation could also be a factor, said Morris, with an ever-increasing proportion of the population buying cups to go. A growing trend towards coffee pods may also have contributed. 

More stories from Down Under…

Researchers pioneer ‘chewing gum’ test to identify blindness disease

Researchers from the University of Sydney’s Save Sight Institute have found a simple “chewing gum” test that could be the key to identifying and treating giant cell arteritis (GCA), a disease that causes blindness, strokes and death.


GCA is caused by inflammation of the lining of arteries in the head, most commonly in the temples, which restricts arterial blood flow. Symptoms can include headaches, scalp tenderness, jaw pain and vision problems. GCA is most commonly observed among people aged 50 and older.

The condition can be hard to diagnose because early symptoms are often subtle and found in a range of other diseases. For example, claudication of the jaw muscles (cramping pain caused by inadequate arterial blood flow) is a specific indicator of GCA, but there is no current clinical test to differentiate it from other causes of jaw pain. 

GCA patients with jaw claudication have a higher risk of permanent visual loss, but this symptom isn’t commonly reported because many people favour soft food as they age.

Save Sight Institute researchers have developed a straightforward test using regular chewing gum to unmask this important jaw symptom. By chewing the gum at a rate of one chew per second the test can reproduce a patient’s telltale pain, prompting further investigation with a blood test and an arterial biopsy to confirm diagnosis.

In a letter published in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine, researchers presented two cases where the chewing gum test allowed clinicians to better characterise jaw pain, confirm a diagnosis and successfully treat both patients.

GCA is one of the most common causes of blindness in older people​,” said Peter McCluskey, director of the institute and a professor of clinical ophthalmology at Sydney University. 

Not only can it send you blind, but it can kill you. It also can affect vision extremely quickly. If one eye is already involved, around one third of people go blind in the other eye within a day, another third within a week and the remaining third within a month. It’s a very serious condition which requires rapid and correct diagnosis​.”

The research team is doing further research to validate the chewing gum test, and will incorporate dentistry, rheumatology and nuclear medicine specialist researchers.

Half of Australians can’t even pronounce hipster’s favourite super-food

Only half of Australians have tried quinoa despite its trendy status, and just as many are unaware of how to pronounce it.


According to a survey, more than three-quarters of respondents had no idea of why quinoa is healthy and eight in 10 are clueless as to where it comes from*.

Containing all nine of the essential amino acids that cannot be created by the human body, it is one of the only plant sources in the world to be considered a complete protein, says Sandhurst Fine Foods, which released the survey ahead of the launch of a ready-to-eat range called Quinoa & Co.

The range will consist of four lines, including a mixed quinoa with eggplant caponata; a white quinoa with artichoke; a red quinoa with piquillo pepper, cabbage and lentil; and a plain option. 

Nutritionist Melanie Lionello has developed a series of recipes to coincide with the launch.

Widely regarded as the national dish for any super-foodie, quinoa rose to fame in the early 2010s, reaching a high point when the United nations declared 2013 as the International Year of the Quinoa. 

In 2015, the Harvard Public School of Health said that eating a bowl of gluten-free whole grain or cereal fibre daily reduces the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Yet still very few Australians know anything about the 4,000-year-old crop grown for its seeds. Only a small number know, for example, that 

* Peru

Fsanz awards Ingredion’s Hi-Maize digestive health claim approval

Ingredion has obtained a general-level digestive health claim from the A for its Hi-Maize resistant starch stating that the ingredient “helps to maintain/support a healthy digestive system when consumed as part of a healthy diet made up of a variety of foods​.”


A proprietary type of invisible “white fibre” that does not compromise tastes, Hi-Maize is available globally and suitable for white breads, flat breads and pasta, fruit smoothies and protein shakes.

As well as boosting the activity of healthy gut bacteria that breaks down resistant starch, Hi-Maize increases stool bulk and gives a mild laxative effect to promote regularity. 

Studies have shown that in comparison with bran, resistant starch is well digested, produces an increase in daily stool weight and assists passing. 

It also protects the mucous layer within the colon which is believed to help protect colon cells.

Many public health authorities including the WHO, EFSA and Australia’s NHMRC recognise the benefits of resistant starch for digestive health. 

More than 80 published clinical studies show the compelling health advantages of natural Hi-Maize resistant starch made from high amylose corn, Ingredion says.

With digestive health a growing health and wellness consumer trend across Asia-Pacific, “The GLHC for Hi-Maize resistant starch opens up additional opportunities to work with even more customers in the health-conscious Australia-New Zealand Market​,” said Wendy Pasco, the country’s regional marketing manager.

Related topics: Markets, Oceania, Asian tastes, Beverages

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