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Gourmet coffee and tea products rank third in specialty purchases.

Gourmet coffee & tea products rank third in specialty purchases

Several years ago "gourmet" food usually indicated a few dusty cans of unusual imported food tucked away on a supermarket shelf. Today, the gourmet market is one of the fastest growing segments of the retail population. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade just completed a large scale consumer study to provide accurate and timely information about specialty food consumers.

Almost 7,000 consumers answered questions about their purchases of specialty foods that may assist specialty store owners in their purchasing and merchandising efforts. While some of the results contained little surprise, other results should inspire the specialty food industry to re-think its preconceptions. Above all, the results should challenge retailers to find ways to incorporate them into business strategies.

A recent purchase of specialty foods was reported by 56% of the consumers. Purchase rates were the highest among those living in the New England and Pacific regions. Fancy coffee and tea was the third most popular purchase, carrying a 22% share. For matters of comparison, purchase rates for ordinary equivalents were also ascertained. Ordinary coffee and tea also ranked third with a 61.2% share. The average number of purchases for specialty coffee and tea in the past six months was 3.6, with regular coffee and tea at 6.4. To those interested in marketing specific categories of specialty foods, relative rates of purchase among various demographic groups are invaluable.

Today's new supermarkets burst at the seams with an abundance of fine packaged, and fresh, selections. Specialty stores have also changed, growing in number while offering greater selection in ever-more appealing environments. The purchase patterns in specialty food categories demonstrate that consumers often shop supermarkets for one category, specialty foods for a second and perhaps delis for a third. Yet, many consumers favor the specialty food store for a wide range of product categories, sometimes exclusively and sometimes with comparison shopping at competing outlets.

Patrons of specialty food stores were asked to rate the relative importance of eight factors influencing their choice of a store. Quality and freshness took the top two spots, suggesting the need for retailers to foster these two basics, and project an image that constantly reinforces the consumers perception of the retailers commitment to them.

Value for money and price claimed third and fifth place. The standout low scorer, in undisputed last place, was brand, evoking little enthusiasm even from medium/heavy consumers. Unlike the typical grocery store shopper, specialty food consumers are fickle, always searching their store for a new brand or product to satisfy their lust for adventure.

Clearly, the specialty food market is an area of growth. Coffee and tea continue to be market leaders and their presence in specialty stores is an indication that they will continue to increase in market share.

Dutch coffee imports reach 12,349 tons

Dutch green coffee imports in July totaled 12,349 metric tons, according to the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics.

Total figure included imports of 2,417 tons from Brazil, 3,975 tons from Colombia, and 2,462 tons from Uganda. Total green coffee imports in January-July 1990 were 91,350 tons.

Celebrating the art of coffee

In the centuries between the departure of the Romans and the arrival of Napoleon, the people who lived around the delta of the Rhine, the Maas and the Waal rivers managed pretty much without national boundaries. As 1992 approaches, and Europe prepares to roll up the borders once more, Probat of Germany anticipated the reunion with a diverting exhibition of coffee-related art and artefacts in the Emmerich Civic Theater. The event, staged with the cooperation of the big German roasters, Eduscho, also celebrates the development of the coffee trade throughout the area over the past 140-odd years, explains Probat's chief executive, Hans von Gimborn.

"When Indonesian exports dominated the coffee markets the big Dutch green coffee companies wanted to expand their business and to sell ready-roasted coffee, using the newly created railway networks and the improved river transport systems," he told the preview audience. The only drawback was that, at the time, roasting was still very much a domestic process: to provide professional-type roasters, two of the region's merchants--C.J.L. van Gulpen and J.H. Lensing--got together with Theodor von Gimborn, an engineer, to create the Probat company in 1868, to mass-produce industrial roasters.

The exhibition, designed to celebrate the "Fiery Passion" that coffee arouses in its devotees, makes extensive use of Probat archive material, items from the company museum in Emmerich, and Eduscho of Bremen's considerable collection of period pictures and engravings on coffee subjects. Plans to take the show to other European centers are also being considered.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:Government seems to have abandoned Brazil trade.
Next Article:Indonesia seeks to recapture U.S. coffee market.

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