Organic coffee market tops $1.4 billion in North America

Organic coffee market tops $1.4 billion in North America, new survey shows

Defies recession, grows faster than conventional coffee sector

NEW YORK CITY (June 15, 2010) – The North American organic coffee market topped 1.4 billion dollars in 2009, according to new data released today by leading market analyst Daniele Giovannucci at the fifth annual tasting event hosted by the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), at New York City’s famous Union Square Cafe. The event featured outstanding organic coffees from foremost American roasters and retailers. Even in a recession, Giovannucci found, organic coffee continued its reign as the single most valuable organic product imported into North America.

The Collaboration features leading firms from Vermont to California and from Florida to Canada. Participants include: Beantrees Organic Coffee Company (Sacramento, CA), Caffe Ibis (Logan, UT), Chiapas Farms (Austin, TX), Elan Organic Coffee (San Diego, CA), Control Union Certifications (Plantation, FL) Equator Estate Coffees & Teas (San Rafael, CA), Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters (West Chester, PA), Green Mountain Coffee (Waterbury, VT), S&D Coffee (Concord, NC), Sun Coffee Roasters (Plainville, CT), and Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company (Burnaby, BC, Canada). From sourcing coffees at origin to roasting, decaffeinating, and brewing them, these participants represent the full organic coffee supply chain spectrum.

According to Giovannucci’s North American Organic Coffee Industry Report 2010, more than 93 million pounds of organic coffee were imported into the United States and Canada in 2009.

Giovannucci, the world’s most respected authority on the topic of sustainability, notes “The 4.1 percent growth of the organic coffee market this past year is an important achievement for a higher priced product during a recession and when much of the conventional coffee industry has been stagnant.” The average annual growth rate of 21 percent for organic coffee documented by Giovannucci in the five years from 2004 to 2009 dwarfs the estimated one percent annual growth of the conventional coffee industry.

“It’s not surprising that demand for organic coffee is growing. Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the attributes of organic coffee—its benefits not only to the environment and health but also to the livelihoods of the farmers who produce it,” according to OTA’s Executive Director Christine Bushway.

The report, available from the Organic Trade Association, reveals not only the origins, volumes and prices of organic coffee but also the trends that shape the markets for these and other coffees certified to Bird Friendly, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ CERTIFIED, and Starbucks’ C.A.F.E. Practices standards.

Recent data from the Organic Trade Association’s 2010 Organic Industry Survey indicate that U.S. sales of organic products, including food and non-food, reached $26.6 billion by the end of 2009, growing an impressive 5.1 percent over 2008 sales, compared to 1.5 percent for conventional industry’s sales growth.

Organic coffee equals quality coffee. According to the results of Cup of Excellence cuppings coordinated by the U.S.-based Alliance for Coffee Excellence, organic coffees were among the winning farms in five countries in 2009: Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In fact, the highest ranking attained all year was for organic coffee from the Bolivian farm Agrotakesi SA, earning 93.96 points, more than a full point above the next highest ranking coffee that year.

Union Square Cafe, which has earned Zagat Survey’s #1 ranking as New York’s Most Popular Restaurant for an unprecedented eight years, is one of the many restaurants and other food establishments across the U.S. offering organic coffees to their discriminating clientele.

Background:

Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials with low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, avoid the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic farmers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic coffee is grown in approximately 40 countries.


For more information on the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association, see http://www.ota.com/organic_and_you/coffee_collaboration.html

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