We don’t know about you, but the idea of living in a world without coffee seems unimaginable. Coffee is more than popular: it's ubiquitous. No other beverage is as revered or respected. It can be seen in offices, during commutes, and on kitchen countertops worldwide. But what would the world look like if coffee disappeared? Of course, we would be heartbroken and severely decaffeinated, but what would that disruption look like from a higher view?
Whole countries and economies would be affected.
Coffee comes in second place to oil when it comes to global sought-after commodities. With a worth over $100 billion worldwide, about half a trillion cups are consumed each year. That puts coffee ahead of commodities like natural gas, gold, sugar, and corn.
Coffee beans are not only used for brewing a cup of coffee, but also provide caffeine for beverages, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Imagine how many brands and formulas would be affected by the loss of the gem we call coffee.
Jobs would be lost.
Between 600 million and 800 million people worldwide depend on coffee production for their full or partial daily survival—equivalent to at least 10 percent of the world’s population. Coffee is grown in over 50 countries in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Of those, South America ranked as the largest coffee producer, with Brazil producing about 43.2 million bags of coffee. The day-to-day impact coffee makes in the lives of so many people would be completely reversed.
Consumers would be bewildered.
The National Coffee Association and The Specialty Coffee Association of America conduct annual surveys regarding yearly coffee consumption. For 2019, they found over 50% of Americans over 18 years of age drink coffee every day. This represents over 150 million daily drinkers. 30 million American adults drink specialty coffee beverages daily; which include mochas, lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, iced beverages, etc.
Americans consume 400 million cups of coffee per day making the United States the leading consumer of coffee in the world. Just think of 150 million people without their daily coffee…
Business models would suffer.
If it seems like there are coffee shops popping up everywhere around you, you’re probably right. Last year, Allegra found there are approximately 35,616 coffee shops in the U.S. representing a market value of $45.4 billion. They predict the sector will reach 40,800 outlets by 2023, representing a five-year growth of 2.8 percent.
Larger companies, like Starbucks—the third-largest restaurant chain in the U.S—and global coffee trade owners, like Kraft, Philip Morris, Nestlé, Proctor and Gamble, and Sara Lee/Douwe Egberts, would need to revisit their business models and design a whole new approach to their business and marketing to supplement the loss of income-related directly to coffee.
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