Coffee roasters selling Business to Business into various markets and doing very well then we have the roasters with strong brand presence successfully trading in the UK and internationally but hiding behind coffee funds.

Check this out.
This particular company which I won’t mention here is performing very well on the UK high street. The outfit procures green coffee from 4 producing countries on three continents. But here is the problem.

Yes, I said it – Hiding behind Coffee Funds.

The glossy brochure report they put out for public consumption looks really smart, with all the right fonts and buzzwords in it but when you read into the details on their coffee outcomes the devil appears from the text with a wry smile. They launched a project in one of the coffee-producing countries that is nothing more than a Good Agricultural Practice Course delivered to a number of producers at a farmer cooperative where they buy their green coffee. Nothing was mentioned about the coffee producers in other countries other than the fact that they would replicate the same model with them in the future.

The good. This company has and continues to do inspiring work in the UK and I commend them.

That said, I see a few challenges here. Read on.

  1. The glossy brochure is 4 years old so wondering what the current coffee situation looks like today as no update can be found anywhere in www. world.
  2. Who appointed a non-coffee company that is enthusiastically scaling its coffee sales and operations the expert in on-farm Good Agricultural Practice courses when Extension Services via the producing country Coffee Board, Coffee Growers Association, and or Coffee Union are available to support. Or dare I say it Google, YouTube or WhatsApp groups are just a click away to fill any knowledge gap?
  3. The money spent rolling out point 2 could have been redistributed into subsidising inputs, or giving grants to the producers to upgrade or improve green coffee processing infrastructure on farms.
  4. Funds could be used to incentivise the workers at harvest time by way of step bonuses on the volume of cherries picked and paid out on a daily or weekly basis. I could go on.

Do you see the problem here?

A collective consciousness to evolve into sustainable actions is acutely needed to see the appetite roasters have to look after producers match or surpass the appetite they have to manage revenue, margins, profits and shareholder dividends.

What do you think it will take for roasters to stop hiding behind the brochures for transparency and ethical fair play to dominate and reign king in the coffee supply chain?

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