The coffee shop market will continue to grow despite the credit crunch, with new data showing that the number of outlets in the UK increased by 15% in the 18 months to October.

According to research company Allegra Strategies, which is due to launch a report on the market next month, the number of coffee chain outlets increased by 657 branches between April 2007 and October 2008 to a total of 3,577 branded stores in the UK.

"The downturn in the economy will only have a limited impact on long-term market growth and the total UK coffee market is set to continue to grow for at least the next five years," said Allegra MD Jeffrey Young, at a briefing earlier this month, entitled Has the Coffee Shop Bubble Burst? "Starbucks and Costa will each reach more than 1,200 units across the UK well before the market is saturated."

The credit crunch is having some impact, however, with 19% of consumers visiting coffee shops less often because of the economic slowdown, according to research from Allegra. But Young predicted that the number of branded coffee shops would exceed 5,000 in the next 10 years, creating a market worth more than £2.5bn, up from the current turnover of £1.5bn.

New coffee shop formats will emerge, he said, including branded delis and more bakery concepts.

"UK café culture is here to stay," he said. "The popularity of coffee bars continues to grow. They are important venues, not only to eat and drink, but also to relax, socialise and conduct business meeetings."

Allegra research found that a quarter of UK adults or 11m people visit coffee shops at least once a week, with location the main reason for visiting (63%). Lattes and cappuccinos are the most popular beverages.


=== Summit draws near ===

There is only one month left to register for the Baking Industry Summit 2008, on 27 November, so make sure you reserve your delegate place now. The Summit, which will focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is taking place at One Great George Street, London, and will host a variety of top speakers, including Lucy Neville-Rolfe, executive director (corporate & legal affairs), Tesco.

There will also be speakers from Asda, Greggs and Bells of Lazonby, as well as packaging and waste experts who have tackled bakery-based issues head-on and will share their experiences.

To book a place, contact Helen Law on 01293 846587 or email You can also book online at []. Ticket price: £225 + VAT.