There is also a change in attitude towards calories and sugar over the festive period. “Our customers tell us that around Christmas time, they want something a bit more indulgent compared to what they normally have for the rest of the year,” says Briony Raven, global coffee and packaging director at Pret a Manger. It’s a habit also observed by Phil Smith, head of category at retail and foodservice manufacturer UCC Coffee: “Calories just don’t seem to count at Christmas.”New flavoursThen there’s the innovation factor. Coffee shops constantly revamp their festive menus to create a buzz when they are unveiled. That’s a calculated move.“Cafés and coffee shops often become known for certain seasonal flavours that draw in customers every year, but they’re also looking for the next big thing in festive hot drinks,” says Smith. “The Christmas season is a contest to see who can create the biggest, most popular or most exciting hot drink. It gives coffee shops a USP and if done well it can make them virtually famous via the press and social media.”Costa’s showstopper for 2019 is a new Irish Velvet range, comprising latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate and frostinos each flavoured with non-alcoholic Irish coffee sauce. That’s joined by a new Festive Spiced Cappuccino and its first Christmas Tea, a blend of Sri Lankan tea leaves and “aromatic winter spices”. Meanwhile, Starbucks has unveiled a Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate as its Christmas centrepiece. “Each year we’ve seen growth in our festive range by providing a modern twist on familiar flavours,” says a Starbucks spokeswoman.Full screen in popup Certain things are synonymous with Christmas. Michael Bublé coming out of hibernation. The annual dash for the supermarket turkeys. And, of course, the Starbucks red cups.Yes, festive hot drinks have fast become a calendar event. For proof, just look at the number of Twitter and Instagram posts under the Starbucks #redcup hashtag. A Toasted Marshmallow Hot Chocolate is the star of Starbucks’ festive lineup this year, combining marshmallow syrup with mocha sauce, topped with marshmallow flavoured whipped cream and caramelised sugar (rsp: from £3.10)Source: Starbucks Caffè Nero’s Caramelised Almond range includes a latte and a hot chocolate variant (rsp: £3.40), with the latter crowned the Huffington Post’s Best Christmas Hot Drink for 2019.Source: Caffè Nero Instagram 1/4 show caption Costa’s new Irish Velvet range comprises a latte, capuccino, hot chocolate and frostino variants (rsp: £2.95-£3.45) Next While Starbucks may claim to be the “original creator of festive hot drinks” – marked by the introduction of its Christmas Blend into UK stores in 1998 – it’s now just one of many players in this market. Costa, Caffè Nero, Greggs, Pret a Manger and independents are all bringing out their own festive blends.Yet retail has been notably absent from this boom. Aside from the odd festive product, the hot drink aisles largely fail to reflect the excitement in the out-of-home arena.So just how lucrative are festive drinks? What is the secret to their success? And can retail get in on the act?Big businessThere are no exact figures on the size of the Christmas-themed beverages market, but overall spend at the likes of Starbucks and Costa suggests it’s big business. According to Worldpay, shoppers spend more in coffee shops in December than any other month of the year. The average sale is worth £7.62 over the entire month – a figure that rises to £10.50 on 23 December.And the festive drinks menu will heavily influence where consumers spend that money, Harris Interactive data shows. Of the shoppers who buy into festive hot drinks, 64% would be likely to base their choice of coffee shop on their Christmas drink offer. Pret A Manger’s Crème Brûlée Latte is finished off with whipped cream and a sprinkle of brown sugar (rsp: £3.00)Source: Pret A Manger Pret is similarly focusing on innovation. Last year, it doubled its original range of festive hot drinks to keep up with demand. “It just keeps getting bigger every year,” says Raven.Retail potentialYet on the retail side, Christmas hot drinks remain a fairly small business. There are few options on the supermarket shelves. In Tesco, for example, there are only two SKUs available: Taylor’s Limited Edition Christmas Blend ground coffee and Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Latte. Previous Emotional connectionThe popularity of these drinks may seem at odds with their nutritional content. For these beverages would certainly fall foul of the sugar police. According to research from online marketplace Onbuy.com, Caffè Nero’s Caramelised Almond Hot Chocolate contains 38.5g of sugar – the equivalent of more than nine teaspoons – and Pret’s hot chocolates are even worse. A cup of its Mint Chocolate or Hazelnut Hot Chocolate contains more than 11 teaspoons (47.9g) of the white stuff, yet the chain says shoppers are still flocking to buy the products.That’s because the love of these beverages is far more emotional than rational. In our Harris Interactive survey of Christmas hot drink consumers, 48% said they were a sign that Christmas had begun. More than four in 10 said the drinks got them into the festive spirit. And they are willing to pay for this feeling.“Shoppers are willing to spend more on seasonally themed beverages because of the emotional response they trigger,” explains Megan Carnegie, consumer behaviour analyst from Canvas8. “They mark the beginning of the holidays and people’s annual traditions.” Source: JDEThe success of the latter proves there is an appetite for such drinks. The Tassimo Costa Gingerbread Latte has reached 380,000 households since launching in October 2018 [Kantar 52 w/e 3 November 2019] and is now worth over £1m. And Nescafé says its Gingerbread Latte took £1.3m in the last 12 weeks of 2018 alone. If you ask Mintel senior foodservice analyst Trish Caddy, there is a huge gap in retail for festive hot drinks. “Almost a fifth of British adults still don’t buy hot drinks outside of the home, suggesting there’s massive missing potential to attract these drinkers – more than 10 million people,” she explains.That’s because the majority of these 10 million simply prefer making their drinks at home, according to Mintel research. So providing those shoppers with an at-home festive hot drink could prove lucrative. “There is a clear gap in the market to target this new generation of at-home hot drinks enthusiasts looking to replicate the coffee shop experience through festive innovations,” says Caddy.Indeed, Harris Interactive found 57% of shoppers who buy festive hot drinks out of home would buy a similar product from the supermarkets. Plus, 77% would be willing to pay a premium for a festive variant.UCC’s Smith sees opportunity for a bit of in-store theatre in this area. “There is potential to create an area in store similar to Tesco’s recipe cards, giving shoppers everything they need for their festive hot drink, from syrups and mini marshmallows to cream and sprinkles, all in one place,” he suggests.This could prove the ideal option. Because it’s hard for ready-made retail products to keep up with the fast-paced, ever-changing festive menus of the coffee shop. Plus, stocking Christmas-themed products carries a certain risk, Smith warns. “The pitfalls with seasonal drinks and packaging is the time scale in terms of usage. You have to be very careful that you don’t overproduce or over-order on Christmas products because come January 1, they will no longer be relevant.”But if retailers get it right, they may just give the Starbucks red cups a run for their money.
Akii-Bua in action. He was the first man to run the high hurdles under 48 seconds as he won Uganda’s first Olympic Gold medal in 1972. The only other Olympic gold has been from Stephen Kiprotich, in the marathon in 2012. FILE PHOTO via David Isabirye | Kawowo SportsKampala, Uganda | LOUIS JADWONG & AFP | Kenyan ace Eliud Kipchoge looks set to become the first man to run Marathon’s 42.195 kilometres in under two hours today October 12, 2019 in Vienna.“This is about history,” he said at the pre-race press conference on Friday. “It’s about leaving a legacy. It’s about inspiring people.”“Breaking the two-hour marathon barrier would be like man landing on the moon,” he said. He added that it would “show to the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”Kipchoge’s bid to create a “moon-landing” moment by running a historic first sub-two-hour marathon brings back memories of someone who actually “landed on the moon” before — Uganda’s John Akii-Bua.On September 2 1972, Akii-Bua did something no other man had done before. In the Olympic Stadium in Munich, Akii-Bua was drawn in Lane One for the 400m hurdles. At 4.31pm local time, he won the gold medal in an astonishing new world record time of 47.82 sec, three-tenths of a second under the world mark set by Britain’s Hemery in the 1968 Mexico Olympics.He was the first man to run the high hurdles under 48 seconds; first African to win gold in an event under 800m, and of course Uganda’s first Olympic gold winner.!In winning, Akii Bua,23, became the first East African athlete ever to set a world record either in the Olympics or in any other international athletics meet and the second African to do so after Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia at the 1964 Tokyo Games. Bikila won the Tokyo Marathon in 2 hours 12 minutes.Akii Bua doing his thing in an event considered highly technicalWhile Kipchoge’s attempt is being scrutinised because of the type of shoes he is going to race in, there was no such farce for Akii-Bua, as it is said, he broke the record “in a pair of shoes he’d worn for two years and run down that one spike was missing.” (read Kiphcoge profile page 2)More remarkable, was he run that final from the inside lane – considered the least favorite position in the one lap race.The Akii Bua secretsKenyan superstar Kipchoge, who holds the marathon world record and is reigning Olympic champion, sounds very confident , having come close to breaking the two-hour barrier when he was 25 seconds too slow in another staged run, at Italy’s Monza race circuit in 2017.Usually, by the time such professional athletes make the attempt, they have already either beaten or come close to the record in training before.It is said that months before John Akii-Bua broke the 400m hurdles world record at the 1972 Munich Games, he had already come very close to the mark several times in training at Wankulukuku and Nsambya grass tracks. This after he returned from high-altitude training in Kabale with his British coach Malcolm Arnold. Akii Bua died an unhappy man in 1997, a lesson for many of today’s Ugandan athletes who have now wisely invested heavily in their future, and life after sports. (follow live feed page 2)Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 His coach Malcolm Arnold kept it a secret from the world for obvious reasons. The only media house that knew the potential Akii-Bua was taking to Germany, was Kampala sports magazine Recorder, that predicted a record.Akii-Bua went on to shatter the world record, becoming the first man to run under 48 seconds.Akii-Bua was one of the geniuses among athletes, according to his British coach Malcom Arnold“While other runners were gasping for breath at the end of the race, the 6′ 2″ Ugandan skipped, jogged, jumped round the track – even leaped over a few more hurdles – on his victory lap. He is recognised as the inventor of the victory lap.”He returned home to a jubilant nation. Then President Idi Amin Dada promoted him in police, for which he was running, named a street after him in the city, and gave him a car and house as prizes.Because of international politics, with Africa pushing for the liberation of South Africa, he missed the 1976 Olympics and a showdown with United States rival Edwin Moses because of the boycott by Uganda and other African nations. Edwin Moses went on to set a new world record in 1976 and to reign until Kevin Young became the first man to run under 47 seconds in 1992.