Noted by the Office of National Statistics as a ‘distinct and growing product’, coffee capsules are making their way into our weekly shopping. But most of us feel tied to buying branded capsules. Is it time we tried third-party alternatives?
This may or may not come as a surprise to you – it did to me – but a poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 22% of Brits own a coffee capsule machine, with analysts predicting that coffee capsules could overtake teabag sales by 2020 😲
The same poll found that 80% of coffee capsule machine owners stick to buying the manufacturers branded coffee capsules rather than third-party capsules. So what’s holding us back?
Brand lock in
Coffee capsule machines offer convenience more than a cost saving – at least, that’s what it is for me. Nespresso machines are riding high on this trend for caffeine convenience. As a Nespresso machine owner, I have certainly saved some money by kicking my takeaway coffee habit. However, it’s the time I save on getting my caffeine fix in the morning that’s the biggest boon.
Still, restocking my coffee capsules can be a real pain. Nespresso machines are especially particular about where you can buy their branded capsules too – online or via a small list of boutiques.
And I do feel tied to buying my capsules from Nespresso. Early third-party capsules were problematic. There was a spate of these capsules not working and potentially causing damage, which could invalidate the machine’s warranty. All in all, popping down to the supermarket to restock with third-party capsules seemed a little too risky.
However, following a French court ruling in 2014, Nespresso has had to share information about their machines. This change has opened the gates for challenger coffee capsule producers. With access to information about these coffee machines, these third-party capsules offer up a great alternative to the Nespresso-branded capsules. Not to mention being are far easier to get hold of than having to traipse to a Nespresso boutique or place an online order.
Bucking the brand
In fact, when we recently conducted a taste test of compatible coffee capsules we found that those on sale in the supermarkets earned scores high enough to be Best Buys. Branded capsules still performed well, but it’s clear that these third-party capsules are well worth a try. I know I’ll be giving them a go.
Do you find yourself buying the branded capsules, or are you bucking the brand lock-in for third-party capsules?