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Branded coffee shops 'dominating market'

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The most prominent news about branded coffee in the UK has recently been negative, with multinational firm Starbucks criticised by campaigners and politicians for the amount of tax it plays in the country.

However, a new report from management consultants Allegra Strategies offered some succour to the industry by revealing that the UK coffee shop market is defying the recession by expanding rapidly.

Jeffrey Young, managing director of Allegra Strategies, said the continued success of the sector has "astounded" the majority of analysts.

Brands like Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Cafe Nero are becoming ubiquitous on the UK's high streets, with turnover in the sector rising by 7.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis in 2012 to reach a total of £5.8 billion.

Furthermore, as more outlets get fitted with catering equipment the industry could begin to challenge casual dining firms as the go-to spot for a bit of lunch or dinner.

The overall market, which includes branded coffee chains, independent coffee shops and non-specialist operators, now comprises 15,723 outlets - a four per cent increase compared to 2011.

Looking forward, Allegra expects increased growth in the branded market as firms continue to stamp their mark on the high street.

"As consumers gain more opportunity to consume quality coffee through more outlets, they are making it part of their lifestyle. Britain has become a 'new nation of coffee drinkers,'" said Mr Young.

He added that high-quality and artisanal coffee shops have rubbed off on their branded counterparts, who are now attempting to improve the quality of their offering to compete for the custom of increasingly savvy consumers.

Coffee guru Gwilym Davies, who was named Britain's best barista in 2009, recently told the Guardian that the UK's attitude towards the beverage has changed in recent years.

"Our tastes are certainly changing. What was a small group of educated coffee consumers has become almost the norm," he declared.ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801509703-ADNFCR

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