Coffee in Crisis: A Call and Response
This year, the coffee “C” price fell to its lowest point in 12 years, pushing below US$1.00/lb for the first time since Re:co’s inception. This price is a potent symbol of a shocking reality: coffee farming has been an unprofitable business for many producers for many years. Leaders in the coffee industry recognize that a crisis is underway, that its casualties are our partners, and that without them, there is no specialty coffee industry.
But there is hope: individuals, companies, and organizations are addressing this crisis using new tools and different approaches to understand and confront the complex problems we face. This year’s Re:co will be about coming together to learn, collaborate, and act to address this challenge that faces all of us in specialty coffee.
Macroeconomic Dysfunction in the Coffee Trade: What are the mechanisms behind the volatile shifts in the coffee market? We’ll convene with experts to understand the functions and challenges of the coffee system.
Cost of Production and Profitability for Coffee Producers: Do we really know what specialty coffee costs? Buyers and producers alike need to understand what it takes to produce specialty coffee so that it can be priced sustainably. New research helps us to better understand the cost of production and integrate these learnings into our trade strategies.
Value Chains, Transparency, and Market Linkages: This isn’t the first coffee price crisis – what tools did we employ previously? How successful were they? What new tools are offering potential solutions? We’ll evaluate traditional tools like certifications and cooperatives and explore new tools like transparency systems and market-linking approaches.
The Role of Innovation and Technical Advancement: How can new technologies fuel change and increase efficiencies? What role does new technology have to play in the resolution of the crisis? We’ll explore and evaluate advances in innovation positioned to make an impact.
Growing Consumption: Letting Go of Sameness: We've become accustomed to specialty coffee consumption growing at a fast pace, but some signs indicate adoption may be slowing. Have we hit peak consumption within our target customers? What could we stand to gain if we became more diverse in our approaches and offerings?