How COVID-19 Impacts Coffee Production, Consumption, and Sales
Today, the world is battling an invisible enemy that shows no mercy to race, social class, religion, and gender. First world nations and developing countries face the same problems: the collapse of the medical system, lack of ventilators, insufficient PPEs (personal protective equipment) for the healthcare workers, and increasing numbers of the sick and dying. To mitigate contagion, many governments have enforced strict quarantine and social distancing measures. As a result, no one goes out to bars, cafes, and restaurants — not even for a cup of coffee.
Before the onset of the pandemic, going to coffeeshops was an everyday social activity to which many people looked forward. Estimates log a whopping 2.25 billion cups of coffee consumed every day. Aside from enjoying a cup of java, coffee shops allow us to mingle with friends or sample a pastry. Now, with most people imprisoned at home, we’ve canceled our coffee dates indefinitely. The only way to get our fix is brewing it at home! Before we can talk about exactly how COVID-19 impacts coffee production and consumption, we’ve got to examine some stats.
Let These Java Stats Perk You Up
Coffee is a favorite because many are aware of the benefits of caffeine. Caffeine happens to be the primary ingredient of this beautiful bean; hence, coffee is the beverage that you reach for upon waking up. It’s also known for fueling your brain and revving up your metabolism.
Today, this humble coffee bean is the second-most traded commodity next to oil. This magical brew is also the third most sought-after drink in the world, almost tying with water (first) and tea (second). The biggest drinkers of coffee are the Finnish, consuming 9.6kg per capita of coffee. The Norwegians and the Dutch follow them. If you notice, these are all small European countries, that trump the rest of the word when it comes to chugging coffee.
The majority of the world purchases their beans from the number one coffee producer in the world, Brazil, which harvests 2.6 million metric tons annually. Following Brazil, the highest coffee producers (from highest to lowest) are Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Keep in mind that many credit the Ethiopians for discovering the incredible potential of this potent coffee bean during ancient times.
The Coffee Industry Dramatically Declines with COVID-19
Unfortunately, today’s coffee culture is adversely affected by this global pandemic, which has plunged economies (and restaurant traffic!) all over the world into chaos. With people feeling the isolation, those thrills of meeting over a cup of coffee are distant memories. Everyone is afraid to go out, so coffee consumption is at an all-time low. The lack of demand causes the global prices of coffee beans to take a nosedive. The value in April 2020 was around 10% lower compared to the market price in December 2019.
Even if some sources might project Brazil to harvest more coffee beans soon because it has been raining a lot in their region, where will they sell these beans if most coffee shops are closed? In the United States, there are 40,000 cafes across the nation, a humbling reminder not only of how COVID-19 impacts coffee but the restaurant ecosystem at large.
In other COVID-19 hotspots like Italy, Singapore, Japan, Spain, and South Korea, dining outside the home has been discouraged. Severely infected cities have banned congregating outright. There are dismal coffee sales due to the virus with the closure of hotels, cafes, and restaurants. Tourism has stopped, and thousands of people have also lost their jobs. Additionally, many people now no longer even have the funds to spend on designer coffee.
COVID-19 and Caffeine Do Not Brew Well Together
To understand COVID-19 impacts coffee and impedes the growth of the industry, you must understand the variation in coffee houses and restaurants — some are small, independent operations, and others are national chains. The massive losses in the industry hurt the small neighborhood coffee operators more than the franchises, who stand a higher chance of recovery post-quarantine.
Before the outbreak, China happened to be the biggest buyer of Brazilian coffee beans. Today, they’re purchasing a lot less because they’ve closed over 2,000 Starbucks stores. Other coffee shop brands have also been restricted from operating. When you look at the stock market, it’s a bear economy. Results show that Starbucks is down by 6%, and Luckin Coffee has lost a third of its value.
Post-Crisis: The Survival of the Fittest?
The future seems bleak because there is still no cure for the pandemic. People will continue to fear going out if no one develops a vaccine. What will happen from here on depends on when this outbreak will cease. And even if it does end, we have no assurance that people will pick up their old habits. Fear is a terrible enemy to contend with, and sadly, cafes will feel the pinch as people have become used to making their favorite java drinks at home.
Right now, many cafes are closed with numerous cities on lockdown. Sadly, it seems like this pandemic will kill small restaurants and coffee houses. In areas that still permit coffee shops to operate, the owners still see a decline in sales because many prefer to stay home.
These shops that remain open must amp up their marketing efforts, such as improving their website and app to offer free delivery. Other restaurants are trying novel approaches and pivots to survive. Aside from a full menu and price list, operators must make a clear statement that they prepare drinks using the best hygiene practices. They should also sell coffee products for home brewing, along with their ready-to-drink items. Cafe owners who wish to survive this crisis must evolve if they want to thrive.
How Covid-19 Impacts Coffee: The Final Word
Although everything is on a downward trend right now, it’s only a matter of time before things perk up again. No matter where you are in the world, you have your favorite cup of coffee. There’s the Filipinos Kapeng Barako (strong coffee), the Spanish Cafe con Leche (coffee with milk), the Cuban El Pecado (espresso with condensed milk), or the Vietnamese Ca Phe Da (iced coffee). Coffee isn’t just a drink, but it is a powerful bridge between diverse cultures. Coffee will eventually transcend COVID-19!
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About the Author
Lianna is a digital marketing junkie to the extreme with a knack for social media marketing strategy and implementation at muchneeded.com. She is extreme in her work, with a deep goal of always being updated on online and offline marketing news of the world.