No 30

Café de Colombia, a Key Partner for Sustainability

September, 2015

EDITORIAL

Café de Colombia, a Key Partner for Sustainability

Differentiation by cup quality linked to the origin and its commitment to sustainability, which has become almost a requirement in the coffee industry, make Café de Colombia the ideal partner for the value proposition of 100% brands.

For consumers in general, and coffee consumers in particular, ethical and environmental considerations are increasingly important when buying a product. A significant percentage even associates sustainable products to luxury in their minds and thus they would be willing to pay more for them.

This also works the opposite way. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal showed that consumers would pay 29% less for a product of an unethical coffee brand.

Other studies are coincident. According to Datamonitor, 31% of consumers in the world have rewarded through their purchases a socially responsible company, while 26% have punished a socially irresponsible one.

The most mature category in fair trade is hot drinks, to which coffee and tea belong, as 57% of consumers say that choosing foods that support fair trade is important or very important for them.

New consumers are looking for products that better reflect their values, and in the case of millennials, 40% say they are willing to pay more for ecofriendly brands.

In the same line, the 2015 trends study by the National Coffee Association (NCA) confirms consumers’ preference for sustainable products, giving greater importance to organic coffee (25%), followed by Fair Trade (18%) and Rainforest (16%) coffees.

Regarding their purely environmental behavior, 65% of consumers try to positively impact the environment through their daily actions, according to a study by Euromonitor (Eco Worriers: Global Green Behavior and Market Impact, 2015). And buying coffee is one of the few things that consumers can do daily to externalize their values and beliefs.

Among this growing awareness of consumers about sustainability of the products they purchase, millennials have a growing leading role in coffee demand. In 2014, coffee consumption among young people between 18 and 24 years old in the United States had the highest growth, 10%, compared to other age groups versus 2013, according to figures by the NCA.

This growing awareness also goes together with sophistication, as gourmet coffee consumption rose from 58% in 2012 to 64% in 2015.

In line with consumption trends and because of their own corporate social responsibility policies, sustainability has become a priority for the coffee industry in all segments.

Many coffee companies/brands include sustainability in their value proposition or have developed their own verification systems. Others rely on external certifications to reaffirm their commitment while others resort to sustainability criteria to choose their suppliers.

Sustainability schemes, either by certification or verification, are increasingly an industry requirement. However, the current model is still associated with the certification process itself, focusing on economic, social and environmental compliance, not necessarily associated to origin.

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Sustainability, a market requirement
Hence the sustainability model in the industry has evolved from betting on quality in the 90s to certifications in the first decade of this millennium and more recently to differentiation by cup and origin, two elements that Café de Colombia has been combining with success from long ago.

Consumption trends in Europe show that 71% of consumers want to know where the products they buy come from (European Commission, 2012), while according to Datamonitor trends map, consumers want information about the origin of their products. For end consumers, internet has facilitated the search for information on origin (traceability), which by itself is also an industry trend.

In this line, it is worth reminding that Colombia is the most recognized coffee origin in the United States (83%, according to NCDT 2015). This is no coincidence, since Colombia produces what is considered the best mild washed coffee in the world, with differential quality and consistency attributes linked to origin.

In addition to its quality differentiated attributes, Café de Colombia also embodies principles and values, such as trust, familiarity, honesty, social responsibility and innovation, with which new consumers easily identify.

Together with this differentiation by cup and origin, Café de Colombia has followed for several years, by own initiative and conviction, clear economic, social and environmental sustainability policies (“Sustainability that Matters”), which it constantly seeks to refine and improve, adapting to new sustainable requirements by the industry.

In Colombia, with the support of coffee institutions, more and more producers grow coffee under some sustainability scheme (economic, social, environmental and even quality). At the end of 2014, 196,000 coffee farms were linked to a scheme of sustainable production (29% of the total), a very significant increase compared to 68,624 farms in 2008.

So Café de Colombia combines not only unique quality attributes linked to origin, but its sound evolving sustainability policies and its alignment with global industry trends make it the ideal partner for the value proposition of 100% Colombian Coffee brands.


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