Whitbread-owned Costa is the fastest-growing chain, with more than 1,300 outlets, followed by Starbucks, with around 750, and Caffè Nero, with just over 400. The three chains account for 52% of the market.
It is predicted that there will be more than 7,000 branded coffee shops in the UK within the next few years and nearly 18,000 outlets, including independent and non-specialist shops. Currently, there are 5,500 independently owned coffee shops in the UK.
The independent coffee shop market remains strong and it's these operators who are driving the leading chains to provide a more artisanal coffee offer. What they're also clever at is driving innovation to ensure the ultimate drinking experience for their customers.
In their quest, they told us that the drinking experience from disposable cups could be enhanced for customers. They felt the rims on the cups were too thin and the rims on the lids were too square and angular.
What they were looking to create was the sensation of sipping from a china tea or coffee cup and we were delighted to pick up the gauntlet and rise to the challenge!
Paul Willcocks, director - Exclusive Brands, Bunzl Catering Supplies