Issue 5 - October, 2021 - Brian Emmerton, RD

The Buzz on Caffeine!

We Canadians love our morning “cup of joe” (a.k.a. coffee). This routine breakfast staple helps many people’s day get started. What makes us maintain this regular habit time and time again? Most will agree it’s the caffeine buzz that energizes and helps to kickstart the day. 

According to the Coffee Association of Canada, 65% of Canadians enjoy at least one cup a day, with the average being 3.3 cups / day.  Although water is the top selling beverage in Canada, coffee is consumed by adults (18 - 79) more than any other beverage. In addition, over a quarter of Canadians consume tea every day, another warm beverage option which can give a little bit of a caffeine boost. Caffeine slightly elevates the heart rate, it gives a boost of energy, and has relaxation and socialization benefits that come with the sharing of a warm beverage with family, friends, and co-workers.

Coffee is not the only source of caffeine in the Canadian diet, and, the sources vary in strength.  Although naturally present in some foods (such as chocolate), most of our caffeine intake comes from beverages.  Compare the average caffeine content in a standard serving size of 8oz: 

Common Beverages

Caffeine (in mg)

Coffee (Regular)

96 mg

Coffee (Decaffeinated)

2 mg

Coffee (Cold Brew)

101 mg


22 mg

Espresso (1 oz serving)

64 mg

Tea (Black)

47 mg

Tea (Sweetened, ready to drink)

19 mg

Caffeine: Good or Bad?  

For years health experts and others have touted all the associated risks of high caffeine consumption including insomnia, elevated heartbeats, increased abdominal pains, and high blood pressure. With all the potential risks, a large quantity of health research has also focused on the benefits moderate amounts of caffeine can offer including lowered risk of stroke, reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, a reduced risk of Parkinson’s, and potential increased lifespan. Just like many other things, moderation is the key!

How Do We Respond to the Sales Opportunity? 

Just like many other offerings, it is about ensuring you provide a choice to your customers.  Did you know that that decaf options represent approximately 7.2% of overall coffee sales? However, decaffeinated teas (including herbal options which are normally naturally free of caffeine) represent 27% of the overall tea business.  Keep in mind consumption of decaffeinated beverages (coffee and tea in particular) is climbing slowly, while regular brewed coffee overall is decreasing.  

The market for decaf beverages is still a large enough portion of your business. Inasmuch, you still need to offer options in addition to all of the essential basics. For example, a decaf coffee in every market or machine is an expectation, caffeine-free herbal teas are a must for self-serve tea racks, and non-cola options are available for customers wanting to avoid caffeine. 

In closing, while coffee and caffeine are still favoured by many, there is a growing opportunity that your business can take advantage with a rising demand for herbal teas. Try adding new flavours and blends to your lineup; they can often be leveraged to drive increased price points, margin growth, and keep more of your customers engaged with “what’s new” in your offering.


About the Author:
Brian Emmerton is a Registered Dietitian and the Vice President and General Manager of Complete Purchasing Services Inc, a leading supply chain solutions provider for non-commercial clients and hospitality organizations across Canada. Brian partners with many organizations to follow consumer behaviors to assist clients in driving revenue and growth opportunities. Learn more about how Complete Purchasing Services can help your organization by visiting

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Issue 5 - October 2021
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