Last month, we launched a survey to find out how much inflation is affecting your coffee habits. We asked all actors in the supply chain, from growers to coffee to customers, to find out if they noticed any price increases for their coffee and what changes, if any, they had brought because of them.
In short, a large majority of respondents had noted an increase in the price of their coffee or their business, but the extent to which they felt these effects – as well as their action as a result – varied quite significantly depending on whether the person was a consumer or consumer. worked in industry. Here’s what the data tells us.
A total of 83% of all survey participants said they had noticed an increase in coffee prices, but this was more evident for coffee professionals. Nearly 97% of coffee professionals surveyed said they had noticed an increase, while only 72% of consumers said the same; 8% of consumers were not sure there was.
There are a few potential explanations for this discrepancy. On the one hand, while prices may increase on production, the increases are not necessarily passed on to the consumer. As one roaster noted in the survey, “We have a subscription service and do in-house roasting, so the price of green beans has become more expensive, but we haven’t changed the package price. monthly.” Another possible explanation may simply be that consumers are not as focused on price changes as coffee companies. While every penny in a business may need to be accounted for, casual consumers, especially those with significant disposable income, may not have kept a close eye on the cost of their daily latte to even begin to notice an increase.
And while the effects of inflation were widely felt, the reaction to them varied wildly depending on which side of the supply and demand equation the participant was on. Among consumers who had noticed a price increase, 62% said that it had not affected their consumption habits. “I still home brew the same amount even though ground prices have gone up,” one person said, while another said more bluntly, “I have to drink it.”
On the other hand, 79% of coffee professionals who face inflation say that the increases have affected their purchases and/or their daily activities. Price increases for businesses have been significant, affecting green coffee, packaging, shipping and freight, which have “increased between 20% and 500% per container”, according to one importer/exporter.
To offset this increase, coffee companies have made sweeping changes to the way their business is run. Passing some of the increase on to the consumer was a common response, but others found various cost-cutting measures including buying for themselves instead of through larger suppliers, reducing menu offerings, buy cheaper versions of the supplies, or even buy green coffee from different origins, presumably cheaper.
Even still, many coffee companies note a decrease in total sales due to inflation, which is consistent with the sentiments of consumers who report that their coffee habit has been affected by the price hike. Most reacted to the increases by choosing to make coffee at home instead of going to the cafe for a drink. Some even choose to buy lower quality coffees to save money, others have noted the shift from single origins to blends. And when people walk out to cafes, many change their drink orders in response, choosing cheaper options like filter coffees over more expensive espresso-based lattes.
In the end, the general consensus was that inflation did have an impact on the price of coffee, but the effects were felt more strongly by coffee companies than by consumers, who, even when they saw an increase, were more likely than not to act accordingly.
Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor of Sprudge Media Network and a Dallas-based writer. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.