Coffee is the world's most popular hot beverage but despite the enviable position it holds, producers and suppliers will need to overcome costly logistics challenges, help provide solutions to the climate change impact on coffee bean farmers, and invest in innovation to attract a younger generation of consumers in search of new taste experiences.
That's one of the findings from The Coffee Association of Canada's annual conference, "The Road Ahead" held on November 14, in Toronto at the Globe and Mail Centre.
The conference was a comprehensive one, addressing a broad range of topics relevant to the coffee sector, including a financial forum with CIBC's chief economist Benjamin Tal, who shared his outlook on the inflationary challenges facing the industry in 2023.
A CEO panel included Balzac's CEO Christine Cruz-Clarke, Mother Parkers' president and CEO Fred Schaeffer, Bridgehead's president Kate Burnett and Fresh City Farms' president Mary Graham.
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, a Grocery Business columnist, well-known food industry expert and a professor at Dalhousie University highlighted some key trends he and his research team expect to see in 2023 and beyond including advancements in cellular agriculture (lab-grown coffee), an ongoing consumer focus on health and wellness, and a growing virtual marketplace. He also addressed the development in Canada of a Grocery Code of Conduct and noted "I feel confident it will happen and it will help retailers and suppliers."
A panel discussion on green coffee included participants from Mother Parker, Katie Ryan, who is director of coffee procurement, and Sam Hairston, director of green coffee operations for Tim Hortons. Others on the panel were Doug Eland, president of Eland Logistics who discussed the growing costs in shipping and warehousing and Alvin Suissa, vice president of Ken Gabbay Coffee.
Attendees also gained some insights about media strategies companies like Keurig Dr Pepper (Tebbie Chuchla, vice president of marketing), J.M. Smucker (Nicole Murray, director marketing) and TikTok (Chloe Efthyvoulos, industry lead, F&B/Restaurants) use to engage consumers and build on brand trust, loyalty and "love."