Coffee or doughnuts? Here’s what Americans prefer

Americans ordered 2 billion servings of coffee in the year ending October 2019

If they could only have one, Americans would likely choose coffee over doughnuts.

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That’s according to a report from The NPD Group, which gauged adults’ eating habits.

Of the 18,000 quick-service doughnut shops in the country, Americans ordered 2 billion servings of coffee in the year ending October 2019 versus only 805 million doughnuts.

“We are a nation of coffee drinkers and while we like our donuts, too, we tend to be fueled by coffee and drink more of it,” David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America, said in the statement. “The takeaway for donut shops? If you serve good tasting coffee with your good tasting donuts, consumers will visit.”

Only 15 percent of quick-service donut purchases included a coffee-doughnut combo, in fact. And for doughnut shop patrons overall, 68 percent of purchases include just a coffee and 30 percent were doughnut-only buys. The coffee buyers tend to be “aficionados” too. Specialty drink orders were up 14 percent versus 4 percent for standard coffee, according to the report.

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There were more than 3 billion visits to quick-service doughnut outlets during the time of the survey. That’s up 2 percent compared to the same time last year. And the uptick in traffic makes sense: More than one in three Americans spent more on coffee than they invested.

As for doughnuts, the Americans eat 10 billion each year. That’s about three per person.

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The average cost for a cup of coffee is $3, and the cost for a plain doughnut is about half that.

Whether it’s coffee or doughnuts, it's good news for shops like Dunkin’, which pulled in $630 million in revenue last year and continues to introduce new products to lure in customers.

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