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Buencafé and the RTD revolution

From the March 2017 issue.

Colombian soluble coffee specialist Buencafé is riding a wave of interest in ready-to-drink coffee.


Ten years from now, 2016 may well be remembered as the year that ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee was accepted as a segment of the industry to be taken seriously.

But while it wasn’t until 2016 that the specialty coffee industry finally embraced RTD coffee. In many parts of the world this more convenient cousin on the caffeinated beverage’s family tree has long been a significant staple of the mainstream industry.

Asian nations such as Japan and Korea particularly have a longstanding affinity with RTD coffee.

Japan has a long history as a pioneer in the development and consumption of canned coffee.

There are some 2.5 million vending machines selling beverages in Japan, and it is via this delivery platform that RTD has been able to grow so impressively.

The RTD coffee segment in Japan today is worth more than US$10 billion annually.

In fact, Asia accounts for 83 per cent of the world’s RTD coffee market in terms of volume and 78 per cent in terms of value. While it is the world’s largest coffee market overall, the United States is the second most important market for RTD in the world, with consumption of 9 per cent in terms of volume and 13 per cent in terms of value.

However, while it is a distant second to Asia at the moment, the US is the market with the highest growth in the category, between 2010 and 2015, it grew 17 per cent per year in terms of volume and 12 per cent per year in terms of value.

The RTD coffee market reached sales of US$18 billion in 2015, with 4.9 billion litres consumed globally.

Over the five years to 2015, the volume of consumption in the segment grew by 3.1 per cent annually, though falling prices meant that the value of the segment contracted at a rate of 1.5 per cent per annum.

One company that has a particularly keen understanding of the dynamics of the global RTD coffee market is Colombian soluble coffee specialist Buencafé, which has been producing 100 per cent Colombian coffee extract for the RTD industry for more than 25 years.

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