NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fewer people drank coffee in the United States during the pandemic compared to levels seen before it, although the drink remained by far the most popular in the country, according to results of a national survey released on Thursday.
The survey commissioned by the National Coffee Association (NCA) found that 58% of people in the U.S. had at least one coffee the day before responding to the survey in January, versus 62% a year earlier.
The results, however, do not necessarily indicate a reduction in coffee volumes consumed in the U.S., the world’s largest market for the product, since many people while working from home drank more coffee than they normally would in offices.
Major coffee retailers in the U.S. posted increases in overall volumes sold during the pandemic.
It is unclear if those increases offset the fall in out-of-home consumption.
The fact coffee shops are still operating with limitations might be one of the reasons for the coffee drinking fall.
The survey says people are drinking as much coffee in the morning as always, but drinking in the afternoon - a habit often linked to coffee shops visits - fell 4 percentage points.
“Coffee continues to be America’s undisputed favorite beverage, even with the entire country in various stages of lockdown and footfall in coffee shops down massively this year,” said NCA President and CEO Bill Murray.
He expects consumption to increase in coming months as the country recovers from the coronavirus.
According to the survey, people continued to be divided about when they would feel comfortable to go out for coffee, with 33% saying they feel comfortable now and another 31% saying they will not be comfortable until the pandemic is over.
Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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