Buzzing on sustainability: Half of all coffee launches carry ethical or environmental claim

In 2020, 48% of coffee launches made at least one sustainable claim, according to Mintel Global New Products Database.

According to market insight firm Mintel, consumers around the globe are ‘drinking coffee with a conscience’.

The company’s Global New Product Database (GNPD) has revealed that of all new coffee product launches around the world in 2020, nearly half (48%) carried an ethical or environmental claim.

This, according to the firm, is close to twice the number from almost a decade ago, when just 25% of coffee launches were sustainable.

A breakdown of the claims reveals 30% carried an environmentally friendly claim, 28% a human rights claim, 29% a sustainability claim (concerning habitat and/or resources), 25% an ethical claim related to the product’s environmentally friendly packaging, and 21% carried a claim concerning recycling.

Fewer products pointed to their biodegradability (3.3%), partnerships with charity (2%), and carbon neutrality (1.3%), with ethical claims relating to the lack of toxins and concerns for animal welfare standards carried on 0.8% and 0.2% of the coffee products respectively.

The market insight firm deemed coffee pods/capsules to be the category’s ‘most controversial format’, due to the amount of landfill waste they create. Pods/capsules accounted for a quarter (24%) of global coffee launches in 2020, yet just two in five pods (39%) carried a recyclable claim.

As it stands, one in ten pods/capsules carry a biodegradable claim (11%) and/or a compostable claim (10%). When comparing the coffee category to the total food and drink market, the GNPD indicated it fares well. In Europe, just 35% of F&B products carry a sustainable claim, compared to 64% of coffee launches across the bloc.

“Undoubtedly, sustainability will be the defining issue for the coffee industry over the next 20 years. Consumer expectations of coffee brands will rise dramatically as eco-anxiety replaces pandemic paranoia,”​ according to report author and Mintel Food & Drink associate director Jonny Forsyth.

“Consumers are becoming more aware of carbon emissions and coffee is one of the worst offenders. The more activist-minded younger generation will show less tolerance for waste, especially pods that are recyclable but rarely recycled, with launches of ‘greener’ pods expected to grow fast.” 

Forsyth also believes COVID-19 has made consumers more sensitive to inequalities. Most farmers are ‘poorly paid’ despite coffee’s ‘huge profits’ and use of fair trade claims, he said. 

“Brands will need to help farmers navigate global warming to avoid the loss of supply and livelihoods. Brands will need to be much more ‘hands on’ and put their sustainable values and actions at the heart of their brand message.”​ The coronavirus pandemic, and consequent lockdown measures, have also accelerated the ‘in-home barista’ trend, noted Mintel. Indeed, in 2020, total global packaged coffee launches increased by 8% compared to 2019 figures.

Packaged coffee now accounts for close to two-thirds of global coffee innovation collectively, whether that be in pods (24%), ground (23%), or beans (15%) format.

Breaking down the trend into regions, Mintel’s data indicated ‘in-home’ baristas are more prevalent in western markets, where pods, beans, and ground coffee account for 77% of all coffee launches. In comparison, the same category accounts for just 44% in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa. In these areas, mixes (20%). Instant (18%), and ready-to-drink (19%) varieties dominate.

“The COVID-19 pandemic created a fascinating year for coffee, especially as it saw the reversal of a long-term trend. For years, coffee shops have taken share from retail coffee, but the pandemic forced drinkers to make more coffee in-home and replicate the quality of fresh on-premise brews,”​ noted Forsyth.

“For many, the key to coffee making has moved beyond the desire for it to simply be ‘good coffee’; it’s now about brewing creative coffee, adding the same style and aspiration you would see in a coffee shop.

“We predict that in as little as two years’ time, this trend will be further developed as coffee-making technology improves and machine prices reduce. Moving forward, retail brands need to behave more like coffee shops in order to engage with consumers. This means using social media and new product innovation to offer customers choice, community, and storytelling.”

Website Link (Article by Flora Southey)

Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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