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Its Scorching Outside, But Consumers Still Want Hot Beverages

Coffee drinkers crave new flavors, and participating 7-Eleven stores are rising to the occasion by offering two limited-time hot beverages—coconut coffee and s'mores hot cocoa, the c-store giant announced .

Coconut coffee has become a seasonal summertime favorite at 7-Eleven stores, the company reports, bringing a taste of the tropics to a freshly brewed morning wake-up cup or an all-day treat. The sweet, creamy, and oh-so-coconutty flavored brew is made with 100% Arabica beans, while the s'mores hot cocoa features rich hot chocolate blended with sweet vanilla, marshmallow and golden graham flavors.

Coffee prices are rising due to bad weather in some coffee-growing regions, NACS Daily reported last month, but consumers still want their hot drinks. Seven in 10 Americans consume coffee at least once per week, according to the Specialty Coffee Association, and convenience stores are ensuring the best beverage offerings around by adding bean-to-cup technology ( GPM stores , Parker’s , Love’s ) and/or sustainably sourced products ( Circle K , Wawa) to the coffee bar.

This year, Circle K also introduced Sip & Save, a beverage subscription program that lets U.S. customers pay $5.99 a month and receive one coffee (or Froster slushy, tea or Polar Pop fountain drink of their choice) every day.

So far, 2021 has been a big one for sweet hot beverages, including a toasted caramel crunch latte and a cinnamon coffee at Wawa, a Peeps marshmallow latte from 7-Eleven, a raspberry crème brûlée from Kum & Go and a rainbow cookie-flavored brew from QuickChek.

Despite many employees continuing to work from home, “shoppers were still most likely to buy hot dispensed beverages between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m., with 56.4% of sales taking place during that timeframe in 2020, compared with 59.8% in 2019,” according to NACS State of the Industry data for 2020. In March, NACS magazine featured “ Hot Beverage Reboot ,” an article highlighting the latest in coffee trends and consumer hot beverage drinking behaviors.

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