Six RTD coffee trends hitting the global market

coffee blog

The ready-to-drink cold brew coffee boom continues in 2020, proving its longevity as a category in the face of the global pandemic.

According to Allegra World Coffee Portal, cold-brew coffee generated $10.4bn US sales in 2019, achieving an exceptional 7.3% growth. As opportunistic brands jostled for position in the chilled aisles in supermarkets around the world, innovation in the category was key to capture consumer attention.

To pep you up for the rest of 2020, we’ve rounded up the top RTD coffee trends that are fuelling the category.

Plant-based innovation

The rise in veganism is making its mark in the RTD coffee market and we are seeing many brands introduce plant-based beverages to their portfolios alongside traditional dairy offerings. Health-conscious consumers are looking to improve their lifestyle and plant-based RTD lattes that use almond, oat, hazelnut, rice, and coconut milks are proving increasingly popular. In fact, the global demand for dairy alternatives is estimated to be over $25.5bn by the end of 2028.

With a clean and sophisticated flavour profile, plant-based RTD coffee is also reaching new audiences who are looking to dabble in a dairy-free lifestyle without committing full time.

Nitro coffee

If you add nitrogen to a cold-brew coffee, you’re rewarded with nitro coffee. Previously considered niche, nitro coffee had made its way into the mainstream as shoppers look to treat themselves to more luxurious beverages. This premium RTD offering is popular with consumers due to its creamy mouthfeel, high caffeine content and sweet flavour.

Nitro coffee is brewed, put in a keg, and then infused with nitrogen before being sold in cans in supermarkets in a variety of flavours, including caramel and vanilla.


Tapping into the provenance trend, coffee drinkers around the world are seeking our RTD coffee that has a distinct flavour profile from coffee beans connected to a single country, region, producer or even farm. This trend is changing how roasters use extracts in RTD coffees as consumers opt for lighter roasts with distinctive characteristics, sourced from specific areas of the world.

By maintaining outstanding relationships with our supply chain, at Treatt we’re able to produce a wide variety of sustainable, single-origin coffee extracts.

Hard RTD coffee

Like hard seltzers, hard RTD coffee offers a healthier, low calorie alternative to other alcoholic beverages on the market. These flavoured beverages marry up two of the fastest growing beverage trends in 2020, adding sugar fermented alcohol (used in hard seltzers) to RTD coffee. Hard RTD coffees are often combined with milk and flavours such as salted caramel and chocolate, to give a creamy, sweet flavour.

Functional energy drinks

Brands are repositioning RTD coffees as the beverage of choice for health-conscious shoppers who need an energy boost, dubbing them as functional energy drinks. As consumers look to switch out traditional sugar laden energy drinks for healthier energy drinks, that give them their much-needed pick me up without the white stuff, we expect to see more low-calorie RTD coffees with natural flavourings and vitamins hit the market.

There’s a good reason why this trend is growing; functional energy drinks that use natural and organic ingredients are on the up, with Grandview Market Research predicting sales to reach $32 billion by 2025, which accounts for nearly 40% of the US market*.

Caffeinated fruit juice

An exciting innovation being seen in North America is caffeinated fruit juice, where fruit juice is infused with cold brew coffee. This is another arm of the functional energy drink category, tapping into the demand from health-conscious consumers. The beverages can deliver multiple benefits, including antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B and a wake-up kick from the caffeination. Juice flavours seen enjoying the buzz include cranberry, guava, and citrus.

How can Treatt help you develop an RTD coffee that stands out?

Our global team of industry professionals provide an expert, integrated service for our coffee customers.

We understand emerging and future market trends, sharing this insight with our customers. Our technical teams create industry-leading products from the highest quality beans sourced from the best locations.

Our proprietary technology delivers on impact, depth of flavour, consistency, and quality – maintaining and enhancing the subtle nuances of freshly brewed coffee for a variety of premium and commercial applications.

To find out how we can work with you on any of the latest trends, please email