In the previous part of this article we have dealt with such issues as in-home and out/home consumption in the coffee sector. We have established that in-home consumption is responsible for 70 percent of the coffee market, only 30 percent being destined for out-home consumption (coffee bars and restaurants). We have also mentioned that there is a differentiation to be made as to consumers taste and now we shall look deeper into this matter. We shall see that the “coffee umbrella” shelters a wide variety of products. Companies struggle to come with the best choice of coffee for every part of the world, following the consumers taste, economic situation and other market strategies and indicators.
Generically, coffee can be divided into three large categories: excellent quality coffee, good quality coffee and poor quality coffee. In the first category we shall find specialty products, unique or/ and certificate coffees. We are talking here mainly about Arabica. It can be bought from specialty shops mainly and long-term contracts are implied since special flavors and origins are typical. The sustainability concept is intrinsically linked to this category. However, a document recently released by CBI, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, sheds a different light on the specialty coffee segment: “The term specialty has expanded and nowadays this concept includes gourmet (single origin and blends), flavored, decaffeinated, canned and chilled, organic, fair trade.” It goes on saying that today the above mentioned term “merely indicate differentiation from the mainstream”.
The “good quality” segment addresses mainly the supermarkets and refers to a mix of Robusta and Arabica. Since the sustainability label is tending to become a mainstream characteristic, due to environmental issues, this segment of coffee is inclining more and more towards it. Poor quality coffees include blended coffees and refer mainly to Robusta. It is generally considered that Robusta coffees are of a lower quality, where as Arabica, a high altitude grown coffee, is superior. Other differentiations can be made according to origin, bean size, taste. The demand for organic coffee is increasing in Europe and in the United States. Decaffeinated coffee is following the same path. It is more expensive than regular coffee, due to the complicated and time-consuming processes it requires and it seems to cover almost 10 percent of coffee sales. In the fourth part of this article we shall analyze coffee market forecasts.
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