2012 Editor’s Prologue
First a little housekeeping, the articles in this issue are the ideas and opinions of the writers and do no NECESSARILY represent the opinions of CoffeeTalk and the Daily Dose or its employee – including me! I would have thought that this was pretty obvious but apparently not. Maybe we all have become so jaded to the way news is presented and manipulated that the idea that we might print an opinion from someone that disagrees with our own editorial view just doesn’t seem possible to some. We at CoffeeTalk take the idea of fair and balanced seriously and so we print opposing ideas to our own – weird, huh?
There, that is out of the way!
December 21, 2012
As 2012 draws to a close, I would like to just say that I for one am extremely grateful that a giant fireball thrown off by the sun did not cremate the entire earth. I see that as a huge positive – just saying.
During this past year, several festering issues have finally broken through into the limelight. The foremost of these are, in my opinion and in no special order…
• The acceptance of the reality of Climate Change
• Emerging Latin consumer power in the US market
• Market acceptance of the OMG factor regarding the health benefits of coffee
Others of course will have their own lists, but these are my favorites. During this coming year, I see these items expanding and redefining our approach to so many factors of the coffee business including; supply, marketing, flavor profiles, new product development, store design, and other essential business elements.
Climate change has been one of those subjects that have lingered in the issue bag for years. I know that we at CoffeeTalk have been shouting about it for well over seven years. Finally, the impact on coffee and the supply chain has become so obvious that even those who think that the idea of climate change being dangerous to our well being is so much bologna have come to believe that there is something going on. I think that the accumulation of devastating natural weather disasters coupled with crop failures in Colombia, Central America, and Africa as well as drought and political instability caused by food inequity, finally woke decision makers up. Unfortunately in the scientific coffee community, the general opinion is that it is too late to fix the climate and instead we must hurry to mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change.
At ASIC (Association for Science and Information on Coffee) this year, Climate Change and Sustainability were the primary subject lines throughout the entire conference. The wide consensus was that talk of avoidance is long past; the industry’s only choice now is to respond to the effects. Wide pest and disease infestation, drought or, equally bad, excessive moisture, nature’s impact on infrastructure, temperature changes, loss of optimum farmlands and other impacts can no longer be halted by behavioral and industrial changes, we can only mitigate the effects.
Emerging Latin Consumer power in the US market. If there is one take-away from the recent elections in the US, it is that the power is no longer held exclusively by old white males. The same is true for consumerism. Rapidly expanding middle class populations that have not been traditional consumers of specialty coffee are rapidly emerging as important demographic leaders – key to this is the Latin Community. How can we as an industry continue to ignore Latin consumers when we know they embrace the specialty coffee culture, just look at Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil for examples? Look no further than the Latin consumer in America if you are hoping to expand market share!
Second on the list of major changes this year has to be the extraordinary story of the emergence of coffee as a healthy beverage. After spending the better part of the last century justifying the consumption of coffee as a kind of sinful pleasure, what a surprise it is to be able to honestly talk about the remarkable preventative health benefits of brewed coffee. We are purveyors of the elixir of life, the cure for cancer, and the keys to the Land of OZ. Coffee as a healthy alternative to caffeinated sodas is so foreign a concept that many in coffee are skeptical of our own facts. Taken in moderation, less than 5 cups per day, coffee reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, cancer of the pancreas, colon, prostrate, liver, and other organs, onset and deepening of Alzheimer’s, onset of Parkinson’s disease, and so many other maladies. It is the golden age of coffee and health. Hurrah!
In the coming year, we expect that nutraceutical products derived from green coffee will flood the market with expansion into beauty products, nutrition supplements, and preventative medicines.
These are just some of our takes on the past, and the coming year. In this issue, you will read the ideas and thoughts of over 35 other contributors from a wide representation of our industry. These represent some of the most important leaders of both private and non-profit organizations weighing in on the important issues of our business. We hope that you enjoy this year’s portfolio of writers and they provoke thoughts about your own business and your role in our wider global community.
Thank you for your ongoing loyalty, constant readers, and we look forward to continuing to bring you closer to the issues that matter to you most during the coming year. And thank you to our writers and contributors who braved the possibility of the destruction of the world and still made our deadlines to bring you these stories.