U.S. coffee consumption shows impressive growth

Americans drank a record amount of coffee at home, in the office and at trendy cafes last year, lifting green coffee roastings to a 30-year high, industry research found last week. “The specialty coffee industry created a number of different entry level points for consumers that leads to that coffee drinking habit. Ninety percent of the credit goes to the specialty industry,” said Ted Lingle, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Cumulative to December 27, 2003, U.S. green coffee roastings totaled about 19.3 million 60-kg bags, up from 18.6 million a year earlier, according to Complete Coffee Coverage, an industry newsletter. “These are the best roasting numbers since the 1973 level of 19.415 million bags,” Judith Ganes, commodities specialist with J. Ganes Consulting LLC, said, citing data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census. Roastings came to just 17.55 million bags in 1997, when coffee prices surged to $3.18 per lb on the Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange in New York.

Consumption figures and consumers both benefited by lower retail prices at $2.84 per lb at the end of 2002, down from a peak monthly average of $4.67 per lb. in 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This improvement in roastings is even more impressive considering that U.S. imports of roasted coffee hit 34,466 tonnes in the January-November period, according to the latest data from the U.S. Commerce Department. “This is positive news and one more sign we’ve turned the corner on consumption. This roasting number confirms our 2003 drinking survey showing the number of Americans drinking coffee soared to the highest level in five years,” said Robert Nelson, president and chief executive of the National Coffee Association. The NCA’s 2003 drinking study found that there were 166.6 million Americans who drank coffee, up 5.2 million from 2002 and 8.6 million more than in 1999, Nelson said.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Sparks Companies, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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