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Volcafe: Quietly leading the front

From the August 2011 issue.

Volcafé's Divisional Managing Director, Jan Kees van der Wild, speaks out about rising prices, the changing face of trade and where growth will come from next.

Sitting down for an interview with the Divisional Managing Director of Volcafe, Jan Kees van der Wild, is no easy feat. The lead up is a study in introductory emails, careful arrangements and preparatory questions. With most interview subjects you can access dozens of articles for back-up research, but any probe into Volcafe turns up very little. A quest for insights from past interviews with its divisional head turns up even less.

As van der Wild sits down, he explains that the company has not done much in regard to seeking media attention and this interview with Global Coffee Review is a rare occurrence. In a media landscape where prominence and reach so often attract the public eye, it’s a surprising discovery that a company leading the global green bean trade on both accounts has managed to stay so far out of the spotlight. 

The 228-year-old company currently has a presence in 92 per cent of coffee producing countries and 80 per cent of coffee consuming nations. Those in the know who haven’t heard of ED&F Man or Volcafe, have likely heard of Cofi Com, Dakman, Carcafe, or another of their 26 holding companies around the globe. Those not in the coffee business will almost certainly have heard of their major clients – Starbucks, Nespresso, Green Mountain Coffee, Tchibo, Paulig, Nestle and Kraft, just to name a few.

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