Neighbourhood cafes and drive-thru coffee shops are just some of the trends expected to see growth in the coming years, as the market rebalances, according to Jeffrey Young, founder and managing director of Allegra Strategies.

Speaking at MCA’s Food to Go conference earlier this week, Young said the future looked good for neighbourhood cafes and independents as the growth in home working due to the pandemic and the develop of technology sees the landscape of the coffee market shift.

People were deserting the major cities and the home office was “a big thing” that would have “a profound impact” on some of the big brands that were used to very high footfall locations.

It would not be the end of the office but there were structural changes ahead, he said.

“One of the things we are seeing as a really major trend is the rise of local independents. This is a different point from the rise of neighbourhood cafes. We are seeing consumers being much, much more inclined to want to support a small independent player over a big chain,” said Jeffrey.

Brand loyalty was an important trend that could be expected to continue. Young said there was an opportunity for young, new businesses that wanted to grow that might not have been able to get good sites before. “There is a great opportunity for local brands,” he said.

Drive-thrus are an opportunity – “a hero development” with 56% of consumers post-Covid saying they would buy more beverages via this channel.

“We expect to see a lot more drive-thrus available from the likes of Costa, Starbucks and others, he said. And many consumers said they would use hot beverage deliveries if it were more readily available.

Almost £2bn was wiped off the value of the UK branded coffee shop market in the past 12 months, according to the latest data from Allegra World Coffee Portal. It does not expect recovery in overall market value for perhaps up to five years, following more than 20 years’ “unbridled growth”, said Young.

Some 2% of outlets closed last year (182 sites) and Young said he did not expect the number to recover for at least another three years.

To view the full presentation from Jeffrey Young, or to watch any of the sessions you missed, click here.