Coffee and coffee products
Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages and the second-most exported raw material in the world, after oil. Europe is the world’s largest coffee consumption market region, followed by Asia and Oceania, Latin America and North America, respectively.
Most of the coffee imported from non-EU countries came from two countries: Brazil (32% of the total extra-EU imports) and Vietnam (22%). The following largest extra-EU imports came from Honduras, Uganda, Colombia, India, Peru, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
These imports were mainly going into Germany (38% of the total extra-EU imports) and Italy (19%), ahead of Belgium, Spain and France.
Italy (32%) and Germany (30%) are top coffee producers, followed by France, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. In 2020, these six EU Member States produced 89% of the total EU production of roasted coffee.
In these mature markets, it is not the volume, but the demand for higher quality coffee that will drive the future value of coffee retail sales. Over the past two years, the coffee market has seen a significant increase in sales in supermarkets and shops, a figure also influenced by the health emergency situation. The most interesting growth is in capsules and pods, and in general the sector is estimated to grow by around 8.3% by 2025.
The top coffee producers in the world are South America, Asia, Central America and Africa, and the leading exporting country is Brazil, while the largest consumers are industrialised countries.
Characterised by a high caffeine content, it was once not considered a healthy food. Today, thanks to research, it is attributed numerous benefits, linked to its polyphenol content.
Next to greater interest in the origin of their coffee, many consumers are also driven by a sense of social and environmental responsibility that demands much more from the companies who own the brands
Types of coffee products
Coffee belongs to the Rubiaceae family and two main species are used for the production of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta.
The fruit of the coffee plant is a small drupe consisting of skin, pulp and two seeds, the coffee beans covered with two layers of tegument: parchment and silverskin.
- Green coffee
- Roasted coffee
- Ground coffee
- Coffee beverages (with milk, cocoa,…)
Regulatory Framework of coffee and coffee products
The coffee and coffee products market is quite regulated. As an example: Directive 1999/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 February 1999 relating to coffee extracts and chicory extracts.
The coffee production process
The process consists of several steps: the harvesting of the drupes, cleaning and sorting, stripping and drying of the fruits leading to green or raw coffee.
The green coffee is exported to the processing countries and subjected to numerous analytical controls to define compliance with quality and food safety requirements (analysis of mycotoxins, heavy metals and other contaminants, including from contact materials). Once the safety of the raw material has been established, the blend is created, roasted at high temperatures, from which the roasted coffee, possibly ground, is obtained.
Green coffee, roasted coffee and ground coffee must meet quality and food safety parameters and can be packaged, then sold for the preparation of the coffee drink.
After harvesting, sorting and drying, the green coffee is placed in jute sacks. During storage and transport, it is important that no temperature and humidity fluctuations occur; optimum conditions should be at 18-25 degrees. Jute is an environmentally friendly material, however, its production requires the use of mineral oils, specifically mineral oils from mineral aromatic hydrocarbons (MOSH MOAH), which are dangerous contaminants for the health of consumers. Today, jute bags are used less and less, to save costs but also to minimise the dangers of mineral oil contamination. However, the International Organisation of Jute Bag Manufacturers and Users has regulated itself through a specific standard: IJO STANDARD 98/01, a criterion according to which bags must not contain unsaponifiables (mineral oils and waxes) exceeding 1,250 mg/kg.
Roasted coffee and ground coffee
What most distinguishes good coffee are its organoleptic characteristics, in particular its flavour and aroma. These characteristics must be carefully preserved immediately after roasting, the stage in which the characteristic aromas of the blend are formed as a result of various chemical reactions.
In preserving the aromas and flavours of coffee, packaging is crucial.
New trends and the sustainable coffee supply chain
It is clear that the coffee sector is constantly growing, especially in terms of the consumption of coffee capsules, pods and espresso.
Given the attention of consumers but also of companies to reducing all forms of environmental and social impact while maintaining a high quality and safety of the finished product, the organic production system is gaining ground in order to ensure production and supply chain sustainability through an ecological and ethical approach.
Organic coffee is obviously produced in accordance with the requirements of organic production: drawing on local resources, safeguarding the natural fertility of the soil, minimising chemical farming techniques and increasing the quality of the finished product.
We are therefore talking about environmental sustainability starting from the field with the aim of reducing the use of chemicals and emissions; throughout the process, which involves indispensable logistical solutions given the distance between the cultivation and processing areas; up to the packaging characterised by the extensive use of biodegradable and recyclable materials and a constant search for the most sustainable packaging.