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Less alcohol and more coffee in 2018?

Welcome to Natalie’s Blog…


I read an article recently discussing some research from soft drink brand Britvic revealing that 21% of Brits are planning on drinking less alcohol this Christmas and stocking up on more soft drinks as a result.

The survey claims that 39% of Brits now drink less alcohol all year round, increasing to 41% of 25-34 year olds and 46% of over 55 year olds. This trend is attributed primarily to concerns about health and the rising cost of alcohol and also the rise of “mindful drinking” amongst an increasing number of young people choosing abstinence over alcohol.

It will be interesting to see how this shift away from alcohol towards soft drinks impacts on the dining experience across the hospitality and catering sector, including restaurants, hotels, bars and cafes.

Gone are the days diners ended their meal with a ‘digestif’, such as an amaretto poured over ice (my favourite), a smooth whiskey, brandy or port. Instead diners are settling for coffee or tea as their ‘end of meal’ ritual… and not just any tea or coffee as most are now far more discriminating about the type and quality of the tea or coffee they drink.

With a huge choice of alternative teas (from traditional to fruit and herbal flavours) and much higher awareness of the variation in roasted ground coffee and the multiple ways coffee can be served with or without milk, consumers are far more selective this decade than ever before about what they drink …and it can affect their choice of restaurant, bar or cafe.

I remember all too well the awful coffee served by many restaurants in the past… where a delicious meal would finish badly for anyone ordering the coffee that had been left stewing for hours… the only saving grace being the piece of personalised chocolate that was served with it!

Indeed Delvaux was founded 33 years ago by my mother who supplied Belgian pralines alongside Rombouts Coffee (the main family business). In those days Rombouts was one of the few options for discerning restaurant, bar and cafe owners wanting to provide their customers with an individual cup of freshly brewed coffee.

Now many people have invested in their own bean to cup coffee machines at home and have become regulars at the numerous barista coffee shops that pack the high street, spending the equivalent of a holiday every year on their daily cup of espresso, flat white, mocha or latte… or breakfast, Earl Grey, fruit or herbal teas.

Inevitably consumers now expect the same quality of coffee or tea when visiting a restaurant, bar or hotel (or indeed when offered a cup of coffee in a hairdresser or waiting room) as they have at home or when stopping at a specialist coffee shop or kiosk on the way to work.

As a result smart restaurateurs, hoteliers and publicans have consigned the instant coffee and ‘drip drip drip’ coffee machines to the bin, raising their game by investing in high quality barista equipment and training for their staff and serving personalised chocolates and sweets from Delvaux as a sweet accompaniment and ‘thank you’ to their customers for their business.

It will be interesting to see how the market for non-alcoholic drinks grows in 2018… with George Clooney and other Hollywood stars reinforcing the allure of a cup of freshly brewed coffee and the growing trend for low cost, daily treats to keep us going in challenging times… we predict growth and will continue to expand our own personalised chocolate and sweet range in response.

Now… where’s that loyalty card so that I can enjoy my Grande Chai Tea Latte, 3 Pump, Skim Milk, Lite Water, No Foam, Extra Hot?! Not forgetting (of course) a delicious sliver of Petit Choc or square of Neapolitan chocolate with it!

Call Richard or Gaby now on 01932 571180 to discuss ideas for bespoke sweets and confectionery and personalised wrapping that will make your brand or business stand out… so that next time your prospective customers are asked to think of a business or brand… they will think of you first!

(Natalie’s Blog, 22 December 2017)

Meet… Natalie Atkinson (Managing Director, Delvaux Ltd)

Natalie is the Managing Director of Delvaux Ltd, a family-owned business originally founded in 1985 by her mother Monique as a division of Rombouts Coffee. Natalie leads the ‘delicious marketing ideas’ team at Delvaux, experts in helping Delvaux’s clients to use personalisation and gifting as ‘edible advertising’.

Since Delvaux’s early days supplying petit fours to Restaurants and Hotels and supplying retailers such as the House of Fraser, Conran and Harvey Nichols with luxury chocolates, glace fruits, nougats and nuts, Delvaux has developed into a thriving independent business supplying personalised chocolates (Neapolitans and Petit Chocs) and confectionery in individual wrappers printed with messaging, logo, special offers and promotions etc.

Delvaux has been in business for over 32 years supplying 1000s of businesses, associations, charities, institutions and individuals with millions of personalised Neapolitan and Petit chocolates over that time. More recently Delvaux has expanded under Natalie’s direction with the addition of Mints, Sweets and Chocolate Coffee Beans to the product range.

[If you have any questions please call us on UK freephone 0800 371 428 or International telephone +44 (0) 1932 571180, alternatively please email us at]
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