What’s the #1 Product Purchased With Coffee?

September 29, 2022
3 mins read
What’s the #1 Product Purchased With Coffee?

    The Answer Might Surprise You

    In celebration of National Coffee Day in the U.S., and the upcoming International Coffee Day, we bring you our latest installment of Veryfi Insights, a new industry resource focused on uncovering some of the most unexpected and, well, insightful revelations hidden in the vast amount of zero-party data submitted to the Veryfi OCR API Platform. If you missed our inaugural post on gas prices in the U.S., check it out!

    How We Found the Top Products Sold Alongside Coffee

    We queried our receipt data for 10 leading supermarkets in the U.S., finding all receipts that included a purchase of coffee for these 5 brands: Folgers, Maxwell House, Starbucks, Dunkin’, and Peet’s. Then, we analyzed the line items within those receipts to identify which products were most frequently purchased alongside those coffee brands.

    The Product Most Commonly Purchased With Coffee

    Water is the #1 product purchased with coffee! Once you hear the answer, it’s almost head-slappingly obvious. However, when the Veryfi team was talking internally about which products might be the top choice, most of the guesses were coffee-related: milk, sugar, cream, creamer, donuts, filters, etc. As it turns out, the top products sold alongside coffee are mainly food staples. Here are the top 5 products, across all 5 coffee brands we included in the analysis:

    1. Water
    2. Cheese
    3. Milk
    4. Cola
    5. Paper

    Wait…Cheese is #2? Really?

    That was a surprise to us as well. We even double-checked the results! Even when accounting for sales volume differences between the coffee brands, cheese still was #2. And, with Starbucks, it was actually #1, by a wide margin. We’d love to hear from Starbucks on why their customers buy more cheese than other coffee brands’ customers, perhaps Starbucks already has some insight into their customer shopping behavior that could explain this.

    Other Insights We Found

    Here are some additional conclusions we drew from the analysis:

    • Folgers and Maxwell House are most closely aligned to common staples.
    • Dunkin’ and Peet’s both have paper products in their top 5 – toilet paper, cups and plates.
    • Starbucks coffee buyers’ #1 item purchased with their coffee was cheese (by a wide margin), which didn’t even make the top 5 list for Dunkin’ purchasers and ranked #3 for Folgers, Maxwell House, and Peet’s.
    • Coca-Cola outranked Pepsi with every coffee brand except Maxwell House
    • Red Bull outranked Coca-Cola and Pepsi for Starbucks and Peet’s purchases, but was ranked well below those two colas for the other coffee brands.
    • Ice cream was the #2 product for Starbucks customers, but didn’t crack the top 10 for the other coffee brands.

    Ultimately, what was most exciting to us about these insights was that we could see differences between brands – not only between the coffee brands, but also the brands sold alongside those coffee products. Red Bull placing higher than Coca-Cola and Pepsi was very surprising, and could be very concerning for those beverage companies. One possible explanation is that drinkers of Starbucks and Peet’s prefer higher doses of caffeine, and therefore prefer Red Bull over less-caffeinated cola beverages.

    And, Honorable Mention Goes to…Bananas!

    Bananas are America’s favorite fresh fruit, and they were the only other product to crack the top 5 for multiple coffee brands. Here are the top products sold alongside each of the coffee brands:

    Dunkin’FolgersMaxwell HousePeet’sStarbucks
    ColaWaterColaPaperIce Cream

    Ice cream, chocolate, and sugar were all represented in the top 5 for a single coffee brand. Looking further down the lists for each of the coffee brands, we saw a lot of sweets rising to the top, with 4 out of 5 brands having 3 sweet products in their top 10 list. Dunkin’ had a slight edge in sweets outside of the top 10.

    The Curious Case of Bread

    Bread ranked #6 with Folgers, Maxwell House, and Starbucks, yet it only ranked 16th for Dunkin’ and 19th for Peet’s. Why is that? Folgers and Maxwell House were most closely aligned with traditional food staples like bread, but bread also ranked highly with Starbucks, which oddly had ice cream at #2. Hmm. Perhaps the coffee brands know the answer to this mystery?

    Insights Into Brand Affinities

    This playful look into coffee brands convinced us that we’re tapping into a goldmine of insights on consumer shopping behavior and brand affinities. In our next installment of Veryfi Insights, we’re planning to dive deeper into the products sold alongside two iconic beverage brands. We can’t wait to see the results!

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