The consumption of gourmet type coffees in Brazil has registered significant increases, unlike what has been observed in common lines, in which there is stability or timid growth.
Faced with this trend, the large companies in the sector, whose flagship are traditional coffees, have filled supermarket shelves with new superior lines.
Data provided to coffee in the press by Abic (Brazilian Association of the Coffee Industry) show that, in April –the most recent period made available by the entity–, the sale of gourmet and special coffees grew 84.80% in comparison with the same month of last year, while the traditional ones were practically stable in the same period.
Although the figures made available by Abic do not cover a very significant period, industry sources confirm that the gourmet market is growing at a pace at least four times greater than the traditional one.
According to Vinícius Estrela, executive director of BSCA, an entity that represents the specialty coffee sector in Brazil, some of the reasons for this trend are the quality contests, which serve as an incentive for farmers to dedicate themselves to the production of superior beans, and the increase in of the offer of gourmet drinks in coffee shops.
But one of the main factors, according to Estrela, was the entry of large companies in the sector into the gourmet market. Today, almost all major coffee brands in Brazil have at least one line dedicated to quality beans.
On supermarket shelves, the consumer is faced with an ever-increasing diversity of labels. These coffees are often better categories produced by companies that already had a strong presence in the market for cheaper products.
An example of this is Melitta, one of the giants in the sector and responsible for a significant market share in the field of traditional products. After acquiring 70% of Caffè Corsini, the brand launched a line in partnership with the Italian company called Compagnia Dell’Arabica, which has four beans from different origins —Colombia, Kenya, India and Costa Rica.
According to the CEO of Melitta in South America, Marcelo Barbieri, the company, which already had some initiatives in the gourmet categories, should continue advancing in this area. He confirmed to the blog that this market has been growing at a faster pace than traditional coffee shops.
Industry executives claim, however, that the consumer is not completely replacing the traditional ones with the gourmet ones.
For Susana Hernández, director of marketing at JDE, a group that has brands like Pilão and L’Or in its portfolio, the same consumer resorts to several types of coffee at different times of the day. There’s a moment for each category, explains Hernández.
Despite the increasingly frequent launch of superior coffees, the onslaught of these large companies is timid due to volume. More than 90% of Brazilians still consume traditional coffees.
HOW TO KNOW IF A COFFEE IS REALLY GOURMET?
Traditional/extra-strength, superior, gourmet and special are coffee classification categories. They are quality classes established by Abic (Brazilian Association of the Coffee Industry), in general, and by BSCA (Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association), in the case of specialty coffees.
Check below the main characteristics of each category:
To identify the category, just look for the information on the packaging. Normally, the label will bear the Abic seal indicating to which class it belongs. If it is a special coffee, it can also have the BSCA seal.
If there is the seal (from Abic or BSCA), it means that the coffee was evaluated by the entities and effectively has the necessary attributes to belong to that category. See in the gallery below what the Abic seal looks like and some examples of coffees in each category.
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