Americans love choice. As Joe Fox remarks in the hit film You’ve Got Mail, the whole purpose of today’s coffee shop, with its myriad of options in flavoring and preparation, is “so people can get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self.” We are what we drink, and many take comfort in just that. Thus, having an array of flavored options at your C-store is always a good investment.
A World of Flavor
The popularity rankings of different flavored C-store cappuccinos is similar to those of ice cream: French vanilla, which adds an elegant touch to nearly any coffee drink, is by far the most popular choice—taken to mean a vanilla-custard taste.
Vanilla flavoring is closely followed by that perennial favorite, chocolate. There’s no easier way to turn a cappuccino into a mocha than a quick dash of chocolate, and it’s hard to argue the two weren’t made for each other, seeing as they share so many of the same flavor compounds—seven out of twenty key aromas between them.
White Chocolate Caramel and Caramel Macchiato are both classic flavor choices, along with English Toffee and Peanut Butter Cup.
A Flavor For All Seasons
Pumpkin Spice is the most popular seasonal flavor—it’s a long-awaited customer favorite each year, and customers who are Pumpkin Spice lovers are shown to spend more on average at each visit than other coffee drinkers. Other seasonal flavors include Peppermint Patty for the Wintertime Holidays, and Strawberry Shortcake for a fresh summer change.
Flavored Syrup: Made for Convenience
Perhaps the biggest advantage to flavored cappuccinos is their considerable shelf life. Unlike other products used to flavor drinks (fruit, herbs), which quickly begin to biodegrade, cappuccinos maintain freshness thanks to their high concentration of sugar. Sugar acts as a preservative in foods (think about unopened jars of preserves sitting on the pantry shelf) because it denies harmful bacteria the aqueous environment necessary for their reproduction. Of course, nearly any edible substance will go stale eventually, but flavored syrups have a long shelf life with no discernable effect on flavor.
Today’s convenience stores have an eye toward the consumer’s desire for customization—with coffee accounting for 77% of the hot beverage sales at convenience stores nationwide, there’s a clear market advantage to embracing the age-old truth that “the customer is always right.” Flavored cappuccinos are fast becoming the standard in today’s grab-and-go, customized coffee age.