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Microsoft word - promising eu export markets for coffee

Promising EU export
markets for coffee

The EU accounts for a considerable part of the global coffee consumption. Since coffee is not cultivated in the EU, the EU countries depend completely on imports from developing countries. The processing of green coffee is done within the EU and does not offer many opportunities for developing country producers. However, although consumption in many EU countries is stagnating, the demand for high-quality, and sustainably produced coffee is increasing.
The market for coffee in the EU
The EU is a large market for coffee, accounting for about 40% of the world demand for
coffee. EU coffee consumption amounted to 2.3 million tonnes in 2009. Germany is the
largest EU coffee consumer, accounting for almost 25% of total EU consumption. Other
large EU coffee consuming countries are Italy accounting for 15% of total consumption in
2009, France (14%), Spain (8.7%) and the UK (8.3%). Consumption in these leading markets
increased slightly during the period 2005-2009, while consumption in many other EU
countries remained stable or decreased. These large EU coffee consumers are also the
largest coffee importers, together with Belgium, which is an important coffee trader; it is
the third largest importer, but has a relatively low consumption.
Mainly the North-European countries have a high per capita consumption. For instance, in
Finland per capita consumption amounted to 12 kg. per year in 2008, while the EU average
is 5 kg.
There is an increasing demand in the EU for variations in coffee. The most popular coffee
blend in the EU mainly consists of Arabica beans. Robusta coffee is used for the more
strong espresso coffees and mainly consumed in the South-European countries. However,
Robusta coffee is gaining ground in an increasing number of countries. Due to the
convergence of coffee culture in the EU, higher caffeine espressos are becoming more
popular, and Robusta coffee is also used as an inexpensive substitute for Arabica coffee in
blends. There is also an increasing demand for added flavours, for instance in Spain, where
consumers prefer a sweet taste in their coffee.
Some differences in the forms in which coffee is consumed can be identified within the EU:
ground roasted coffee is the principal form which is used in most EU countries; roasted
coffee beans are mainly used for espresso and cappuccino systems, and soluble or instant
coffee, (which is mainly consumed in the UK and Ireland, as they are traditionally tea -
consuming countries), and the East European countries.
The increased interest of European consumers for healthy food, is reflected in a market
share of about 10% for decaffeinated coffee. The increasing demand for sustainably
produced coffee is the most interesting trend for developing country producers, therefore
the EU market for sustainable coffees will be presented hereafter.
There is increasing awareness of the environmental and social impacts of coffee
production methods. These have been translated into various standardization systems
which seek to address these concerns. The best-known and most relevant initiatives in the
EU are Fair Trade, Organic, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ Certified. Certified coffee is no
longer a small niche market; in 2009 about 8% of all the exported green coffee had some
form of certification or claim of sustainability. The Netherlands is the leading market, with
about 25% of its coffee certified. Furthermore, in the UK and the Scandinavian countries,
certified coffees have reached a market share of about 10%. South-European countries
generally consume a smaller share of sustainable coffees.
Fairtrade certification is a major certification system for coffee. It guarantees a minimum
price for coffee, exclusively produced by certified smallholder farmers. Global sales of
Fairtrade certified coffee amounted to 91 thousand tonnes in 2009, of which 54% was sold
in Europe. The sales of Fairtrade coffees in Europe increased by 24% annually on average
during the period 2005-2009, and its largest market is the UK. Fairtrade certified coffees are
often also certified organic. In 2009, almost half of the Fairtrade coffees was certified as
organic as well.
Regarding organic certified coffee, it is difficult to find reliable data, since it is not
efficiently traced back. However, organic certification is the most widely available
certification, with worldwide imports amounting to 101 thousand tonnes in 2009.
European imports of organic coffee account for 45%, for which Germany is the largest
Another major certification scheme, which focuses mainly on environmental standards, is
Rainforest Alliance. Global imports amounted to 87 thousand tonnes in 2009, of which
55% were EU imports. The Rainforest Alliance coffee imports have increased rapidly by
almost 50% in recent years and are expected to grow further, stimulated by the
commitment of the Nespresso coffee brand.
UTZ Certified is also a major certification scheme. Since its introduction in 2003 it has
conquered large areas, mainly the European market. It focuses on improved business
practices and incorporates the GlobalGAP standards for coffee. UTZ Certified imports
amounted to 86 thousand tonnes in 2009, of which 81% was imported by the European
countries. It is especially strong in The Netherlands (its base), the Nordic countries,
Belgium and Switzerland.
Production of coffee in the EU
Because of climatic reasons coffee is not cultivated in the EU, therefore the EU is dependent
on imports. Green coffee is almost exclusively imported directly from developing countries.
Several EU countries, such as Belgium and particularly Germany, are increasingly re-
exporting coffee, which leads to a decreasing share of DCs on the markets of some EU
Coffee roasting, and other processes like adding of flavours or decaffeination, is mainly
done within the EU, without a role for developing countries. However, the European
roasters are not competitors to developing country producers, but are buyers (often
through, or integrated with, traders).
Trade of coffee in the EU
Coffee is, to a considerable extent, traded through EU trading centres and not always
directly into consuming countries. Germany is by far the largest coffee trading centre in
Europe, followed by Belgium and Italy. Other countries often import directly from
developing countries, but are also partly supplied by EU traders.
The imports of coffee into the EU increased between 2005 and 2009. The imported volumes
increased by 2.3%, while value increased by 7.7% annually, amounting to 3.0 million tonnes
/ € 5.4 billion in 2009. The leading EU markets are Germany, Italy and Belgium, followed by
France and Spain. All these leading markets registered an annual increase in import
volumes of green coffee during the period 2005-2009, with the largest growth of 11% in
Belgium. The Netherlands and Austria both registered a decrease of 15% over the same
period. The value of green coffee imports increased most rapidly by 34% in Bulgaria, while
the volume increased only by 2.6%, indicating higher prices. This is also visible in the UK,
where import volumes increased by 3.3%, and value by 11%.
Table1: Coffee consumption and imports from DCs , 1,000 tonnes

Roasted coffee
Only about 14% of the volume of the total EU coffee imports consists of roasted coffee
imports. As roasting predominantly takes place within the EU, EU countries have a high
average share in roasted coffee supplies, and the role of developing countries is negligible.
Germany and Switzerland are the main players, accounting for 23% and 22% respectively of
EU roasted coffee supplies in 2009. Italy follows, with a share of 15%. Imports from
Switzerland and the UK showed a strong increase of 29% annually over the period 2005-
2009, as well as The Netherlands and Poland, both increasing by 21% annually.
Promising EU export markets
Looking at the consumption, imports and re-exports of coffee, the most promising coffee
markets were selected. Germany has the highest coffee consumption in the EU and is also
the most important trading centre, which makes it one of the most interesting markets for
developing country producers. Belgium is another important regional trading centre, and
shows a strong increase in direct imports from developing countries. Italy is an interesting
market because of its high consumption level and its large and famous roasting industry,
which needs to be supplied. Coffee consumption is also quite high in France and, because
the increasing interest in the origin of coffees, the share of DC producers is expected to
grow further in the coming years. In Spain and the UK the already high coffee consumption is
still increasing and, for a very large part, directly supplied by DCs. Finally, The Netherlands and
Sweden are promising markets, because, although their coffee consumption level is
decreasing, they show significant interest in sustainable coffees. More information on
these markets is provided in the factsheets.


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