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Fairtrade coffee consumers increase

01 May 2005
Fairtrade coffee consumers increase

Sales of Fairtrade coffee in UK high street coffee shops and the foodservice market are on the increase, says a survey commissioned by European coffee manufacturer FFI The Coffee people (FFI).

In it's 2005 Fairtrade Coffee Report, FFI claims that Fairtrade roast and ground coffee consumption now represents 10% of the out-of-home coffee market. This equates to about 500 million cups of coffee a year. Another survey, conducted by Reuters and quoted in the FFI report, suggests that there was a 70% increase in Fairtrade coffee sales during 2004.

According to Austin Sugarman, FFI's sales and marketing director, the "market dynamics are now very favourable for Fairtrade products… consumers are more sophisticated than ever in their choice of coffee and are increasingly choosing ethically products".

Major operators such as Marks & Spencer, Starbucks and Costa Coffee are now serving Fairtrade options, which has helped the percentage increase of Fairtrade in the market.

The FFI report says that 37% of caterers now offer Fairtrade beverages, including tea and hot chocolate, and more are thinking of making the switch.

Fairtrade products, which ensure better prices, working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers in the developing world, cost slighlty more than conventional goods, and this has tradtionally dissuased many operators from using Fairtrade coffee.

According to the report, a "vast majority" of operators absorb the additional cost - roughly 0.5p per cup - rather than pass it on to the consumer. "Customers would not be prepared to pay the extra cost," said one coffee chain spokesman.

Apart from the additional cost, the main reason why many caterers and high street operators do not offer Fairtrade options is the availability of the products from wholesalers, coupled with a lack of awareness. Many caterers said they would consider serving Fairtrade coffee if the distribution system was better.

FFI, which operates 12 manufacturing sites in the UK and Europe and claims to be Europe's largest privately owned coffee company, has launched a range of Fairtrade coffees aimed specifically at the catering market.

Coffee Shops Grow

The number of coffee shops in the USA grew 7% to 17,345 through the autumn of last year, making it one of the fastest growing limited-service categories, reports the NPD Group. The data research firm also said chains (Starbuck's and Caribou Coffee, for instance) now dominate the category, controlling 56% of total coffee shops. The survey also showed that Los Angeles has the most coffee shops, with 801, followed by Seattle, 628, Chicago, 568, and New York City, 525. Anchorage, Alaska, has the highest per capital ratio of coffee shops at 2.8 units for every 10,000 people. Seattle, where Starbuck's is headquartered, followed closely with 2.5 stores per 10,000.

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