We are sure that by now, you have read the news about Hamburg’s city government banning the purchase of coffee pods.
Under a new environment-saving scheme, all state-run buildings will be banned from picking up Nespresso capsules, as well as other less-than-green items such as bottled water and plastic cutlery.
Quite rightly, this has shifted the debate on convenience coffee – to coin a phrase – and its lack of green credentials. “I think it continues to reinforce a point of view that many people feel enough is enough,” said Brian Kubicki.
“We are on high alert…because we see what is happening out there,” Paul Bulcke said earlier this week.
Nestle’s Chief Executive made the admission after the company reported weaker than expected full-year results, signalling to investors that the world’s largest coffee business is going to go on the front foot in a bid to solidify its position on top of the global totem pole.
Its reaction is due to the rapid expansion and investment drive was undertaken by their nearest rivals, JAB Holdings.
Nestle’s ongoing investment and training scheme in Kenya is picking up pace as the company will be making further attempts encourage women and teenagers into the coffee farming business, and to apply for strategic leadership roles within key cooperatives and agricultural societies.
According to the Kenyan website Coast Week, this is their second phase of a multi-year policy that, it is hoped, will bring about a higher level of gender equity in the sector and bring through a new generation to run the farms and work the fields in years to come.
It seems that we’re on a bit of a roll when it comes to high profile figures from the coffee industry delivering interesting speeches. You might recall that during the recent Global Coffee Forum in Milan Andrea Illy spoke about a potential shortage of beans and about the future of the industry at a business level. Both speeches were intriguing and extremely thought provoking.
Well after Illy’s double duty, it was the turn of Nestle Nespresso CEO Kean-Marc Duvoisin to deliver a key note speech, with the biggest takeaway being the necessity of big beverage companies to undertake value sharing exercises that would benefit the entire coffee supply chain.
Nespresso has opened up a brand new facility in Romont, Switzerland, that will serve as the primary place of production for their upcoming VertuoLine of coffee products and Nespresso capsules that will be destined for the Northern American market.
The plant, which reportedly cost in the region of $310 million, is geared towards the preference of ‘large cup’ coffee (Nestle’s own words) in the United States and Canada, which was launched last year to consumer acclaim.
It happens to the best of us.
We’ve all been angry, and to a lesser extent disappointed, when our favourite products get tinkered with. Whether it’s the recipe for a cheesecake (“it’s just not the same now”) or the type of milk used to create chocolate (“seriously, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it!”), change is often seen as a bad thing – even if it’s done for the most wholesome of reasons.
Vietnam still has a long way to go to overhaul Brazil in the global coffee production stakes, but that isn’t going to stop them – and Nestle – from trying to topple the South American nation and ascend to the top of the coffee totem pole.
Figures, published by the U.S Department of Agriculture indicate that despite suffering a tumultuous 2013-14 harvesting season, Vietnam is set to claw the ground that they’ve lost to Brazil back in the coming years.
The projections are certainly positive.
However the real intrigue is Nestle’s role in Vietnam’s lofty ambitions.
Plans are in motion that would see Nestle fund the construction of a purpose-built coffee production facility in South-Eastern Vietnam as part of their ongoing commitment to their own ‘Nescafe Plan’, a long-term strategy that has been designed to “create value” across their coffee supply chain.
Set to be built in the Dong Nai province, east of the Vietnamese capital Ho Chi Minh City, this brand new plant will decaffeinate green coffee beans before readying them for transport to other Nestle facilities around the world.
Last week we reported on the presence of a robotic barista called Nextage who served up coffee for Kawada Industries at the Japanese Robot Week which was recently held in Tokyo.
Visitors to a purpose-built stall used a tablet device to select their drink of choice and whether they would like to customise it or not. Nextage would then set about making it by selecting the coffee, operating the coffee machine and then adding any extra personal items such as the required amount of milk and sugar.
As we noted, it literally brought about a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘robotic service’.
Over the years we have heard many parallels drawn between coffee and tea and the people that drink them. People who like coffee are purists (whether that is natural or manufactured purism we shall let you decide) while people who prefer tea have certain standards and can be quite fussy. But a new study has settled the debate, albeit it financially, about what your drink of choice says about you.
And if you pick a latte over loose leaf tea you’ll certainly like the results.