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Strauss Group Purchases Cosant

Strauss Group, Israel’s largest food company, recently purchased the coffee brand Cosant Enterprises Ltd. in Russia and Ukraine for $93 million.

The brands, including Chornaya Karta and Kaffa, will be integrated into Strauss’s coffee operations in the Confederation of Independent States region, Strauss said.

Strauss, the coffee-market leader in the Balkan countries, Poland, Serbia, Montenegro and Brazil, has bought companies abroad and in the U.S. to offset slowing growth at home. The company said it might seek a “minority” partner to help fund the overseas expansion of its coffee business.

“This is another manifestation of our commitment to continue growing Strauss’s global coffee activity,” said Strauss CEO Erez Vigodman. “This process is compatible with our strategy to develop our coffee activity in emerging markets, where our current and expected growth would have the highest rates.”

The acquisition will make Strauss the second-largest roast & ground coffee operator in Russia, the company said. Strauss will also become the third-largest instant coffee company in the CIS countries and Russia.

2008 Cup of Excellence Schedule Released: Rwanda Welcomed

The Alliance for Coffee Excellence released the 2008 Cup of Excellence schedule. ACE welcomes Rwanda to the Cup of Excellence, representing the first time the program has expanded beyond Central America. Eight countries will participate in the stringent competition and auction program: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Rwanda, Colombia and Bolivia.

“We are excited to welcome Rwanda to our Cup of Excellence family,” said Susie Spindler, executive director of ACE, which runs the Cup of Excellence program. “As the first program for ACE in Africa this represents a significant step for both the Cup of Excellence program and for Rwanda,” she adds. Spindler anticipates that 2008 will once again bring high average prices for the winning coffees sold at auction. Since its inception in 1999, the price/lb. has steadily increased to reach $6.11 in 2007. In just the past four years the average price/lb. has increased nearly 75% from $4.56 to $6.11.

NCA: More Americans Drinking Gourmet Coffee Daily

According to a new study from the NCA, daily consumption of gourmet coffee beverages has jumped to an unprecedented high with 17% of the overall adult population partaking, up from 14% in 2007. Data reveals that total coffee consumption is now at 47% of adults age 25-39, again matching this decade’s high set in 2006 and up three percentage points from 2007.

“Consumers are taking advantage of the variety of choices now readily available to them,” said Robert F. Nelson, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association. “Gourmet coffee offers intriguing adventures into new tastes, appealing to consumers’ keen interest in exploring the varied options offered at cafes and through products for at-home enjoyment.”

The National Coffee Drinking Trends offers a wide array of data capturing coffee drinkers’ behaviors, habits and attitudes. The study combines a solid core of timeless questions to measure changes over time, as well as new questions and analysis techniques designed each year to assess new trends and developments.

2008 Brazil Coffee Crop

The Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Food Supplies (MAPA) recently released their first estimate for the 2008 coffee crop. Beginning with this release it was clarified that all official estimates will now refer to the year the crop was harvested. The estimate was made by CONAB, the National Supply Company after a field survey made during the period of December 3 - 18, 2007. The survey was conducted by agronomists and agriculture technicians in all the principal producing states with the support and information supplied by Growers Associations Cooperatives and public and private sources.

CONAB estimates that national coffee production during the crop year 2008 will vary between 41.3 million bags to 44.2 million bags. Of this total 76% will be Arabica coffees and 24% Robusta.

The largest producing state will be Minas Gerais (50.1%) followed by Espirito Santo (23.0%) and São Paulo (10.2%). Total area cultivated was estimated at 2.30 millions of hectares, a 1.68% increase from the 2007 crop.

Last December MAPA released CONAB’s final estimate for the 2006 crop and fourth estimate for the 2007 crop. Final production for the 2006 crop was estimated to reach 42.512 million bags (77.7% Arabica and 22.3% Robusta). Productivity was calculated at 19.75 bags/hectare. The fourth estimate for the 2007 was forecast at 33.74 million bags (69.6% Arabica and 30.4% Robusta). Productivity was estimated to be 16.27 bags/hectare.

This first estimate for the 2008 crop at 41.3 to 44.2 million bags shows an increase of 22% to 31% over the 33.74 million bags for the last crop. This increase is largely because of the bi-annual cycle of Brazil coffee culture.

The private exporter and trade estimates place the 2008 crop at close to 50 million bags.
- By Harry Jones

Grounds for Health New Program

Grounds for Health, a non-profit organization providing health care services in coffee growing communities, is one of the first organizations to implement a new model for the early detection and treatment of cervical cancer.

“This is a real success for the entire specialty coffee industry, reflecting a deep commitment to issues at origin and a passion for making positive change. We saw a problem, we found a solution,” said Dan Cox, founder of Grounds for Health.

In November of 2007, Grounds for Health first used the new treatment model in Jinotega, Nicaragua. A total of 469 women were screened and 41 women were treated for early signs of cervical cancer.

Grounds for Health aims to create sustainable and effective cancer screening programs with a focus on the early detection of cervical cancer. For more information, visit: www.groundsforhealth.org.

To submit a press release or for further information on Tea & Coffee's Trade News, please contact editor@teaandcoffee.net.

Tea & Coffee - May, 2008

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