Major challenges for the sector discussed at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo steering panel meeting

Major challenges for the sector discussed at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo steering panel meeting

Leaders from the sector met in London last week for the latest European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo Steering Panel meeting to discuss the hot topics and themes that will shape the 2019 show, which will be held at London’s Olympia on 21 to 22 May.

Authenticity, transparency and recycling were among the major issues discussed at the Steering Panel meeting for the European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo 2019.

The steering panel said that the industry was receiving confusing messages and advice over these issues.  

On authenticity and transparency the steering panel members said that the raft of certification systems such as Fairtrade, Direct and Rainforest were confusing not only for many in the sector but for consumers.

Scott Russell, founder and ceo of Paddy & Scott’s said that authenticity was a major issue.

“I am being asked this all the time by consumers. I don’t think it is good enough now just to put on a Fairtrade logo,” he said.

“Tell them how you are supporting the farmers. Is there anyway of bringing different types of organisations together that can authenticate the coffee supply chain?”

Raf Mlodzianowski, consultant for European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo and Coffee Business World columnist, who also attended the meeting agreed: “The biggest problem is that the industry has destroyed what these words mean.

“What does it actually mean to be direct or what does it mean to be sustainable or ethical? For the last couple of years everybody has put that on packaging.”

Emilie Holmes, founder of Good and Proper Tea, said: “One of the biggest frustrations we have is the disconnect between what the customer wants to hear and what is in fact the best way forward. The term sustainability has almost lost all meaning.

“There is a massive question mark around what doing the right thing and sustainability actually means in real terms.

The steering panel said the industry was facing an equally confusing challenge concerning coffee cup disposal as there are range of different schemes from recycling to compostable.

Steering panel members discussed that there needs to be guidelines on what is the right approach and even suggested that legislation could be the answer as the industry is fragmented.

Scott suggested that maybe the industry could come together and create recycling points which could make a “proper impact”.

The steering panel meeting was attended by: 200 Degrees co-founder Tom Vincent, Angel Hill Foods director of coffee Tim Sturk, Bear co-founder Craig Bunting, Nero Express head of operations Paul Darlison, DFDS food and beverage category manager Dave Lewis, Gail’s Artisan Bakery coffee manager Jessica Worden, Good & Proper Tea head of operations Josh Mordecai, Paddy & Scott’s founder Scott Russell, Eat coffee and beverages manager Maxime Herbaut, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park director of restaurants Mark Hastings, Hotel Chocolat operations manager James Drake, Society Café founder Adrian Campbell-Howard, St James’s Hotel & Club food and beverages manager Antonio Vigorito.

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