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Education and promotional programs continue to brighten coffee's future.

Education and promotional programs continue to brighten coffee's future

This past year - 1989 offered many indicators that coffee consumption, thanks to educational and promotional efforts by the industry, is on the rebound.

The Coffee Drinking Study conducted by the International Coffee Organization (ICO) provided some of the best news of the year: Americans drank 1.75 cups of coffee per day in 1989, an increase of five percent over the previous year. Furthermore, the percentage of people drinking coffee rose five percent, from 50 percent to 52.5 percent of the population.

Statistics like these reinforce the missions of the Coffee Development Group (CDG), a nonprofit organization fully funded by the ICO. Since its founding in 1982, the Washington-based group has focused its efforts on increasing the consumption and improving the quality of coffee in the U.S. In 1989, CDG conducted programs targeted to consumer, foodservice, and industry audiences and added to its array of publications, audiovisuals, market research, and promotional items.

Making the Grade with Students

The "cola wars" of the last 25 years helped make coffee a victim of decreased consumption, especially among young adults. Today, soft drinks are the most popular beverage in the U.S., while coffee ranks second.

Coffee, however, has begun to fight back. Between 1988 and 1989, the number of Americans younger than 30 years old who drink coffee increased 31 percent. This finding from the ICO Coffee Drinking Study correlates with other research conducted at college coffeehouses sponsored by CDG.

Since 1982, CDG has worked with numerous colleges and universities to establish campus coffeehouses that introduce students to a variety of whole bean, freshly brewed coffees. In 1989, 72 CDG-sponsored coffeehouses operated at 58 colleges and universities. Each coffeehouse adhered to strict standards for grinding, brewing, and serving coffee, in addition to attacting new drinkers through innovative marketing activities.

For its successes in all these areas, the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, received CDG's 1989 "Coffeehouse of the Year" award. The university's coffeehouse has experienced a 17 percent increase in coffee sales since opening in 1984 and registered a 10 percent increase in overall sales after introducing iced cappuccino to the students.

CDG found further success with a two-year pilot program that placed student representatives at 12 universities with coffeehouses. The student representatives ensured that quality standards were met, conducted promotions and monthly tastings, and gave coffee presentations to campus groups. Coffeehouses with student representatives reported a 31 percent increase in coffee sales, compared to a 14 percent increase in sales at "control" school without student representatives.

An overall analysis of sales figures from CDG-sponsored coffeehouses revealed a 62 percent increase in monthly coffee sales between 1985 and 1988. Armed with these figures, and information from CDG's recent publications such as the "College Coffeehouse Profitability Study" and the "College Research Summary," many foodservice directors have begun establishing coffeehouse operations on their campuses.

Although CDG no longer sponsors coffee houses, it now operates in a consulting capacity to assist foodservice directors and members of the coffee industry in reaching the important young adult market. If young adults form a preference for a variety of high-quality coffee beverages during their college years, they are more likely to carry that preference with them to their jobs, their homes, and their eating establishments.

Coffee on the Job

Each year, more than 3,000 office coffee services (OCS) provide coffee to an estimated 1.5 million locations nationwide. The importance of the market for coffee consumption in offices cannot be underestimated, as evidenced by the results of a research survey released by CDG during 1989.

"A Review of Coffee Consumption in the Workplace" indicated that 82 percent of coffee drinkers who work in offices consume coffee while on the job. Furthermore, the majority (68 percent) of coffee consumed daily by office coffee drinkers is drunk in the workplace.

OCS operators wishing to guide their clients toward selecting better quality coffee for employees found support from CDG and the National Coffee Service Association (NCSA). During the 1989 NCSA convention, the two organizations co-sponsored coffee cupping demonstrations. More than 100 coffee service operators attended and learned the procedure for assessing coffee's quality and flavor.

Encouraging office managers to use an office coffee service is the goal of "Coffee: At Your Service," a brochure developed by CDG last year. Through a direct mailing, more than 6,000 administrative managers received a copy of the new brochure, which outlines the benefits of professional service and underscores the importance of coffee in the workplace.

The Vending Challenge

Many workers, especially those in plants and factories, obtain their coffee from vending machines. Industry surveys estimate hot coffee represents approximately nine percent ($1.9 billion) of the vending industry's total volume. Yet this vast market may disappear unless consumers become convinced that vending machines offer fresh, goodtasting coffee.

The number of people who drink vended coffee decreased 36 percent between 1983 and 1988, according to the results of the CDG research report entitled "Consumer Attitudes Toward Vended Coffee." While consumption has decreased, overall ratings of vended coffee have improved: the number of consumers rating it "good or excellent" rose to 50 percent, a 14 percent increase from 1983.

The survey also indicates that many users and non-users of coffee vending machines do not think the machines dispense freshly brewed coffee. Clearly, now that the quality of the coffee is improving, the industry's task is to make sure the consumer is aware of it.

In 1987, to reinforce the message to consumers about freshly brewed coffee and to attract their attention to the machines, CDG developed a full-color graphic for the fronts of coffee vending machines. Two years later, CDG's vending graphic now graces the front of more than 3,300 vending machines; its success has prompted several machine manufacturers to develop new graphics that emphasize vended coffee's freshness.

Specialty Market Expansion

While consumption of vended coffee has decreased, the specialty (gourmet) market reports only increases. In 1988, Americans purchased an estimated $500 million worth of specialty coffee, leading the average specialty coffee retailer to report an annual sales growth of 20 percent.

A CDG-commissioned "Survey of Specialty Coffee Retailers," released in 1988, reveals the average operation derives 37 percent of its total sales from coffee. The majority of respondents sell specialty coffee because it creates repeat business and adds to profits.

Most respondents (72 percent) also make a concerted effort to keep their customers supplied with coffee information. To assist these education-oriented retailers, CDG produced a 16-minute audiovisual entitled "Specialty Coffee: A Labor of Love." Shot on location in a coffee-growing region, the film focuses on the labor-intensive care required in growing and harvesting specialty coffee.

"A Labor of Love" had its premiere at the 1989 educational conference sponsored by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). At the same time, CDG introduced two new publications - the "Roasting for Flavor" brochures and the "Specialty Coffee: Building Business With Promotions" kit. "Roasting for Flavor" is the last installment in CDG's series of 12 consumer-oriented brochures on all aspects of coffee; "Building Business With Promotions" offers retailers more than 100 promotional ideas and includes camera-ready artwork for flyers, coupons, and advertisements.

As a co-sponsor of SCAA's first conference, CDG also moderated a panel discussion on espresso and cappuccino and conducted a presentation on how to train employees.

Food for Thought

Training remained the focus of CDG's Foodservice Education Program in 1989 as 1,500 students in culinary, restaurant, and hotel management schools received instruction on purchasing, brewing, and merchandising coffee. These foodservice students - the chefs and restaurant managers of tomorrow - learned how high-quality coffee can encourage repeat patronage, enhance customer satisfaction, and increase profits.

A comprehensive educational package entitled the "Essence of Coffee" forms the core of CDG's training efforts. Originally developed for foodservice professors but now available to the coffee industry, the "Essence of Coffee" covers cultivation, processing, roasting, purchasing, brewing, and merchandising. The integrated training package includes a 300-page Instructor's Guide, three trays containing 300 slides, and three audiovisuals.

A new audiovisual entitled "Unlocking Coffee's Flavor" made its debut in 1989. The 16-minute film follows green coffee beans through cupping, blending, roasting, grinding, and packaging, emphasizing the importance of quality control at every step.

Reaching the Consumer

Although many of its programs are directed to members of the coffee industry, CDG ventured into several consumer markets in 1989. One activity took the form of a 10-city tour linking coffee with music. "Dance Beat Tour '89" offered young adults at shopping malls the opportunity to sample hot and iced coffee while enjoying music videos and live performances. Following exposure to the event, the number of non-coffee-drinking 16- to 25-years-olds who planned to drink more hot coffee in the future rose 41 percent.

Breakfast Accounts for

Over 50% of Consumption

More than half of all coffee consumed in the U.S. is drunk at breakfast, leading CDG and two other food organizations to launch a joint campaign entitled "Taste of America Breakfast and Brunches." Beginning in the fall of 1989, consumers around the country began to see the full-page newspaper insert, which is packed with recipes and tips on making the perfect cup of coffee.

Consumers preferring to get their news via radio also heard CDG's message about coffee's quality and versatility. Six radio releases, aired in all 50 states, each reached 12.5 million potential listeners with tips for brewing coffee and recipes for enjoying coffee in a variety of ways.

One radio release promoted iced cappuccino, a beverage CDG has extensively researched and tested since 1985. Early in 1989, CDG released its "Iced Coffee Awareness and Usage Study," which reveals three out of five consumers have never tried a cold coffee beverage. In an effort to attract young adults and create interest in coffee among non-drinkers, CDG continues to promote iced cappuccino through product samplings and presentations at trade shows, college coffeehouses, and promotional events.

Iced Coffee

Iced coffee beverages also found their way onto the pages of the Coffee Chronicle, the newsletter CDG introduced early in 1989. The eight-page publication is distributed several times a year to members of the coffee industry and other interested parties.

All CDG brochures, research reports, manuals, audiovisuals, and promotional items are available through the CDG catalog.

To obtain a copy of the catalog, contact the Coffee Development Group, 1400 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 650, Washington, D.C. 20005, Telephone: (202) 682-4034.
COPYRIGHT 1990 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:coffee trade
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1990
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