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Japan aims for a better cup of instant.

For many people, the best thing about instant coffee is the convenience. The worst thing is the taste. In the battle to reconcile the two extremes, instant coffee manufacturers are releasing a rich variety of new products, most of which exploit consumer desires to be both health conscious and original.

The result: "wholesome" and "blend it-yourself" instant coffee.

Competition to develop more new products is accelerating as consumption of instant coffee levels off in the head-long race of freshly ground coffee.

The All Japan Coffee Association notes that instant coffee consumption in Japan totalled 95,000 tons in 1990, almost unchanged over the past few years. Meanwhile, consumption of freshly ground coffee has increased more than 30% in the past five years, to 118,000 tons in 1990.

A spokesman explains that the convenience of instant coffee no longer offsets its standardlized flavor, and consumers are increasingly turning to grinding their own coffee.

Ajinomoto General Foods Inc. recently launched a package of three kinds of individually packed instant coffee, based on Guatemalan, Mocha and Mandarin beans. The company claims that it enables instant coffee aficionados to enjoy blending coffee their taste. Ajinomoto used the same marketing strategy for a previous new product. In late 1990, the company launched a version of Colombian coffees.

Meanwhile, Nestle KK has come up with coffee that it claims is "kind to the stomach" for consumers who suffer adverse reactions to the drink. Researchers point out that the trouble is caused by a vegetable fat called coffee wax, found mainly in the external skin of the coffee bean. Apparently, instant coffee contains three times the coffee wax of its freshly ground relative.

Nestle developed technology to remove the fat, and began to market instant coffee without coffee wax in March 1990. The company claims it is enjoying better-than-expected sales.

Domestic giant Ueshima Coffee Co. (UCC), which in 1987 released two types of instant coffee--mild and strong--under one brand name, says instant coffee consumers tend to be more conservative than those inclined toward the freshly ground brew. Accordingly, the firm savs it is difficult to root new products in the collective domestic consumer consciousness.

UCC holds monthly lectures on the humble bean at its coffee museum in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture. Tomoko Tamai, an instructor, says that careful measurement and preservation are essential to make instant coffee taste better. Once that jar of instant is opened, she adds, it should be finished within a month.

IllyCaffe; New brand honors Brazilian growers

Coffea Arabica is the latest product release from IllyCaffe. The brand is positioned for the Italian home market, as a 100% Arabica blend of ground coffee that is naturally lower in caffeine. The company promotes Coffea Arabica as a light product, and an alternative to regular and decaffeinated coffees. The caffeine level is given as 1.3%. Launch theme is "More Aroma Less Caffeine."

Coffea Arabica is available in 250 gm tins. Brand imagery is also a clear departure for the IllyCaffe product line, featuring Arabesque design elements, gold trim on black.

In another sector of activity, the Trieste-based roasting company has announced the recipients of its "Brazilian Award For The Quality of Green Coffee For Espresso." The award program was created last year to promote the maintenance and improvement of Brazil's best efforts in green coffee production.

"Each year it becomes more and more difficult to find quality raw materials on the market, especially for a company like IllyCaffe which has decided to use only the best coffee for their blend," explains Dr. Ernesto Illy, president of IllyCaffe. "We have created our award program to help stimulate Brazilian coffee growers to search for excellence in order to maintain in years to come the reputation of the plant for which their country is famous."

Mauro in Germany

One of Italy's leading coffee roasting companies, Caffe Mauro, has established a new company Caffe' Mauro Deutschland GmbH. Offices are located in the Frankfurt area.

Caffe Mauro has long been established in Reggio Calabria, in the south of Italy. The company's commercial offices, including those for export, are in Milan.

Mauro coffee products, for bar and home, are prominent in Italy. For several years they have been achieving larger export sales as well. The creation of a German company follows this expansion. Mauro has been present on the German market for many years through importers and agents.

Raffaele Speranza heads the new office, which can be contacted at Daimlerstr IK, 6072 Dreieich, Germany. Tel: 06103--830287.

SCAA releases compensation reports

The Specialty Coffee Association of America released the 1991 study of executive compensation levels for both coffee roasting and coffee retailing businesses. The study was designed to capture information about the company, such as size and specialization in coffee in relationship to data on compensation, experience, education, and age for each of four management positions. The purpose of the study is to provide members with data to analyze and administer salaries and compensation.

Copies of the studies can be purchased from SCAA. The cost for either study is $15 for SCAA members and $30 for non-members. To order a copy, send payment to The Specialty Coffee Association of America, One World Trade Center - Suite 800, Long Beach, California 90831; or call Ted Lingle (310) 983-8090.

New Orleans coffee storage in wharf warehouses

The Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange, Inc. board of managers, at its February 12, 1992 meeting, extended a January 9, 1992 emergency action restricting certification of new coffee stored in Port of New Orleans wharf warehouses. The emergency action was initially made effective January 9, 1992 for a 30-day period; the 60-day extension declared by the Board commenced February 7,1992, the date the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) authorized an extension of such action.

The moratorium on the licensing of additional wharf warehouses in the Port of New Orleans, declared by the Exchange Warehouse & License Committee on November 25, 1991, is still in effect.

Unilogo F/F/S machines

Established in 1976, Unilogo has always been committed to the development of pouch F/F/S machines. Through the years several innovations have been introduced, passing from the original single lane machine to the present range of mutilane versions featuring up to 10 lanes.

Special models are available for ground, beans and instant coffee.

Gas flushing, multiple auger fillers with individual adjustment controls and water cooling to avoid product dust build-up inside auger funnels, as well as collating and automatic cartoning of pouches are among the several options offered. Depending on weight to pack, pouch size and coffee characteristics, outputs up to 400 pouches per minute can be achieved. Very accurate pressure and heat controls enable the use of a large variety of packaging materials.

Later on another family of machines, that starting from the reel produce vacuum brick packs, have been introduced. Size range goes from 2 oz. to 40 lbs. of ground coffee vacuum packs. Gas flushing, degassing valve (for coffee beans), overwrapping equipment are available to meet all typical packaging requrements of the coffee industry. Machines are already in operation in the U.S.

Unilogo distributors for the U.S. are: Boldt Technologies Corp., 2319 Bell Ave., Des Moines, IA 50315. Tel: (515)244-4163, Fax: (515)244-3518.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:International Report
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Previous Article:For espresso lovers only.
Next Article:Coffee & tea as natural, health drinks.

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