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The breakfast table battle: they may wake France up in the morning, but coffee and tea have sleepy retail sales.

They May Wake France Up In the Morning, But Coffee and Tea Have Sleepy Retail Sales

The battle for the French breakfast table proceeds with unabated ferocity among the various marketers of coffees, teas, and chocolate drinks - and between the drinks themselves although coffee is king by far. While no more than 1 in 10 Frenchmen drink tea for breakfast, the nation is quaffing 8 million bowls of chocolate flavored mixtures in preparation for the day's events. So intense is the moment of petit dejeuner in French culture that the mealtime represents a full 88% of all coffee consumption.

This kind of coffee consumption is of note, given that France's retail stores sold 181,384 tons of roasted coffee in 1992, for a value of 5.3 billion francs (virtually a billion dollar business, given the prevailing exchange rate). Roasted coffee sales volume inched upwards by only 0.3% in 1992, while value actually fell by 2.3%. The leading brands are Jacques Vabre (Kraft General Foods) with a 16.8% market share in 1992, Maison du Cafe (Douwe Egberts) with 15.1% of sales, Grand-Mere (KGF) with 12.8%, Carte Noire (KGF) at 10.2%, Legal holding 5%, and Lavazza in place with 4.5%. Store brands have pushed upward to account for 17% of the market.

More than 90% of roasted coffee store sales are in ground format. Purely Arabica blends or single-origin coffees represent 43.4% of sales in 1992, up 5%, while Arabica/Robusta mixtures - once dominant - decreased by four during the past year to a market share of 49.1%. As an indication of the trend in French blend preferences, note that in 1975 the Arabica/Robusta segment held some 67% of the national market.

The trend for decaffeinated roasted coffee in France is now positive, after a period of regression. Sales advanced by 2% in 1992. The decaf sector currently holds a 7.5% share of the roasted coffee market.

The French market for soluble coffee remained stable in 1992, with a retail store volume of 7,700 tons. Interestingly enough, store brands account for 12.9% of the soluble market, far less than in the roasted coffee segment, indicating that soluble coffee consumers have a higher loyalty rate to established brands than roasted coffee consumers. The leading brands in the segment are Nescafe with 58.8% of the market in 1992, Maxwell with 16.7%, Jacques Vabre with 7 5%, and "other" brands with 4.2%.

Regarding the segment for coffee-based mixes - in blends with chicory and or milk, for example - the retail situation is again marked by strong consumer loyalty. The mixes sector had sales of 920 million FF in 1992. Market leaders are Nescore, Bonjour, Cafe au Lait (all by Nestle), and Cicona (KGF).

Roasted coffee represents 91% of France's total retail coffee market. Soluble products hold 4% of the sum market, while the mixes are at a 5% share.

France's enduring market for chicory drinks still claims a strong foothold in one of every four households. Leroux dominates the market for classic chicory, soluble chicory, liquid chicory ... and now, most recently, with flavored chicory (to date the flavors available include vanilla, noisette, and caramel).

France's extensive market for drinks from chocolate powder rang up sales of 1.2 billion FF in 1992, on a volume of 56,000 tons. The sector advanced by 2.5% in volume and 3.3% in value.

To date this year, the French tea retail market is being energized by renewed efforts to promote Tetley's round teabags - new on the market last year; by the launch of a new line of classic teas from Elephant; and by Twinings' new "Light" tea. Tea marketers and retailers are expecting these promotions and new products to help liven up a tea market that was uncharacteristically sluggish in 1992.

During the past year, tea retail sales progressed by a mere 0.5% in France, to a volume of 5,000 tons and a value of 715 million francs. This was a sharp change from the pattern established in recent years, of an annual growth rate of from 3 to 4%. Tea has, in fact, been the fastest growing segment in France's home market for hot beverages for several years, even though the drink still holds only a modest share of total hot beverage consumption.

Observers do not have easy explanations for the recent slowdown in tea consumption, except to link it to the effects of the recession, coupled with other factors such as a mild winter. The general feeling, however, seems to be that France still guards a good potential in tea and that new products and promotions will surely help tap it.
France. 1992 retail market
shares of roasted coffee
Jacques Vabre 16.8%
Maison du Cafe 15.1%
Grand Mere 12.8%
Carte Noire 10.2%
Legal 5.0%
Lavazza 4.5%
Velours Noir 2.8%
Store Brands 17.0%
Other Brands 15.8%
Source: Points De Vente
 France. Imports of Coffee (in tons)
Year Green Green Roasted Roasted Extracts
 coffee Decaf Decaf
1992 321,754.5 1,526.5 35,461.3 7,068.0 6,000.5
1992 322,061.4 707.7 34,021.4 7,741.1 5,008.9
1990 312,932.6 107.8 28,052.8 8,126.2 5,119.1
1989 304,067.8 150.4 25,839.3 9,108.8 6,586.5
1988 303,001.3 200.1 24,539.0 7,133.7 6,665.7
Source: OAMCAF
France. Green Coffee Imports by Leading Origins (in tons)
Origins 1992 1991 Difference
Brazil 70,917.8 62,049.2 +8,868.6
Cameron 25,625.2 25,381.6 +243.6
Central Africa 1,358.0 4,041.0 -2,683.0
Colombia 33,343.0 33,564.7 -221.7
Costa Rica 10,864.5 11,307.1 -442.6
Cote d'Ivoire 52,476.9 50,650.2 +1,826.7
Ethiopia 4,430.9 6,374.3 -1,943.4
Guatemala 7,784.6 5,916.0 +1,868.6
Haiti 2,043.9 1,667.0 +376.9
Honduras 2,541.3 931.4 +1.609.9
Indonesia 16,159.2 24,186.0 -8,026.8
Kenya 1,658.6 1,974.9 -316.3
Madagascar 20,009.2 18,016.6 +1,992.6
Mexico 4,987.8 7,231.5 -2,243.7
Nicaragua 4,059.4 3,116.5 +942.9
Uganda 20,074.4 23,252.9 -3,178.5
Peru 535.2 436.8 +98.4
El Salvador 4,239.4 4,118.2 -121.2
Sierra Leone 304.6 1,243.6 -939.0
Tanzania 2,239.5 1,764.5 +475.0
Togo 5,229.1 3,839.0 1,390.1
Venezuela 30.7 495.2 -464.5
Vietnam 5,125.3 4,971.2 +154.1
Zaire 9,168.5 13,325.4 -4,156.9
Source: OAMCAF
France. 1992 Tea retail Market leaders (in %)
 % of Total Teabags Tins Packs
Fralib (see
below) 60.5 62.5 55.5 57.9
Twinings 22.5 19.6 39.9 -
Tetley 3.7 2.5 0.1 14.9
Store brands 8.3 10.6 0.1 15.2
Other brands 3.4 - - 4.9
Fralib Brands
 Lipton 41.8 40.2 47.0 46.4
 Elephant 17.0 22.2 - -
 Cie. Coloniale 1.7 0.2 8.5 -
Source: OAMCAF
COPYRIGHT 1993 Lockwood Trade Journal Co., Inc.
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Title Annotation:On the Continent with Jonathan Bell
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Previous Article:Coffee brewing ratios.
Next Article:Fabled French region inspires fresh concepts in specialty products.

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