Over the past three days I have attended the HOST conference in Milan. It is the largest hospitality fair in the world where the industry showcases their newest innovations. It happens every two years under normal circumstances, but with the pandemic it has not been held in 4 years.
This being my 5th HOST, it has been interesting to see the trends change over time. This year was no exception and the products continued to evolve. After a lot of walking and talking here are my top six observations in no particular order:
Coffee at home is pushing coffee competence and quality
Almost every manufacturer in the world of coffee equipment has an at home machine now. By that I mean a little version of what you would normally see at a café. High quality, traditional and beautiful. Expensive too, but a nod to people’s coffee competence and flight to quality. This is driving a push to higher quality globally in coffee served outside of the home in cafes, offices, hotels and so on.
Sustainability is front of mind
Most manufacturers now have a position on the life cycle of their products. This is great news for customers and the environment. There was a reduction in the number of suppliers exhibiting capsule/pod manufacturing machines, coffee machines and accessories associated with capsules and pods. This is due to concerns over the sustainability of the industry and single serve beverages in general.
Asia’s presence is on the rise
There was an increase in the number of Asian companies showing products indicating the rise and rise of coffee in Asia. Still not a large presence from India, but I am sure they are moving towards the world of espresso coffee-based products.
Adjustment on the fly
Although this has been on the cards for some time it is now hitting the mainstream. This is the capacity of coffee machines to adjust the grinder, extraction time and water flow by themselves in response to changing conditions. This means more consistent quality over time and lower maintenance costs. That’s a win for the customer and the operator.
Water is a key focus
Water really is a thing. The world of water in offices is set to evolve rapidly over the coming years: carbonation, flavours, mineralisation and more.
Multi-platform data aggregation is evolving
Data aggregation from coffee equipment is still evolving. There are third-party providers now offering to aggregate data a coffee equipment across multiple providers and present that information in one dashboard. This is good for companies running fleets of differing makes and brands.
Like all innovations and trends, the challenge is to respond to them while maintaining business as usual. Further to this, driving change in an environment with almost full employment in every OECD country in the world makes things extra tricky. It will require careful change management and a great deal of focus to respond effectively.