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International Coffee Day: Consumers say industry lacks innovation

Use of technology and greener coffee could boost spend by £50 million a week

A third (33%) of the UK’s coffee drinkers say the coffee industry is lacking in innovation, according to research from farmer connect®, the global supply chain software provider that enables fair, sustainable and traceable agriculture.

The study, released ahead of International Coffee Day on October 1st 2021, finds that the vast majority (84%) of coffee drinkers would like to see more innovation. The developments they would like to see are: more sustainable packaging (51%), coffee with a lower carbon footprint (47%), new flavours (31%), blockchain to prove ethical supply chains (30%), coffee from new countries (26%), and the use of QR codes to provide more product information (23%).

The research shows that coffee using technological innovations is in high demand. The majority (82%) of consumers are more likely to consider buying coffee that uses technology to prove that it is picked ethically and sustainably. This comes as two thirds (66%) of coffee drinkers admit to being “shocked” to discover that many well-known coffee brands can’t trace their supply chain directly back to the coffee farmers, rising to over 85% among younger demographics (16-24). In addition, 81% of coffee drinkers would be more likely to buy a coffee brand that enabled the consumer to engage directly with the farmers that helped produce the brew.

Consumers are willing to pay extra for exciting new developments. In fact, the research reveals coffee drinkers would spend a combined £50 million extra a week1 for coffee with sustainable and ethical supply chains.

Michael Chrisment, CEO of farmer connect®, commented: “Could our love affair with coffee be turning stale? Coffee drinkers are craving innovation and more sustainable practices from the industry, and they want to see proof of progress. They are willing to pay 10% more for coffee that can prove it has an ethical and sustainable supply chain, especially for the farmers. Marketers at big brands must adapt and look at technological solutions that can meet both needs. In fact, we’ve seen brands generate significant uplift in sales by innovating with technology that proves traceability. It’s simple: companies must now demonstrate that their coffee does good as well as tastes good.”

The farmer connect® software builds and expands on IBM Blockchain Transparent Supply, adapting it to the needs and business models of the supply chain and adding new features, such as ThankMyFarmer™, a consumer mobile site where brands can communicate about their sustainability initiatives and consumers can get involved in supporting farmer communities.