A highly competitive coffee market has made a high-quality coffee offer the “lifeblood” of the foodservice market, says NPD Group in new research published this week.

Cyril Lavenant, foodservice director UK at the NPD Group, acknowledged the role of convenience stores and petrol forecourts in upping the competition, along with fast-food restaurants, sandwich shops, bakeries, supermarkets, high-street retailers and tourist attractions.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that offering high-quality coffee is the lifeblood of the British foodservice market,” said Lavenant.

He said consumers wanted something “innovative and even quirky to try”.

Established brands had become bland. “They need to wake up and smell the coffee to take on competitive threats from both extremes of the foodservice sector,” said Lavenant.

NPD reports that high-street specialist coffee chains have increased their individual coffee servings by 21% since the year ending June 2008, yet the rate of growth is 63% for other foodservice operators that are better known for serving other products such as bakery goods or sandwiches, for example.

Undercutting the coffee specialists by as much as £1.30 on a regular Americano meant other operators needed to sell other items to maintain their profit margin, according to NPD.