JAN 28 (SpillingTheBeans)–Hundreds of coffee industry stakeholders gathered in India’s coffee capital of Bangalore from Jan 21-25 for the country’s 5th edition of the India International Coffee Festival, organizers told SpillingTheBeans.
India’s Economic Times writes from Bangalore, that the country’s coffee capital after a 4-year hiatus returned to host the India International Coffee Festival from Jan 21-25.
Held biennially since 2002 by stakeholders, including growers, roasters, traders and exporters with state support, the previous fourth edition of the three-day fest was held in New Delhi in January 2012 to create greater awareness and promote the beverage in non-traditional areas where tea and other soft drinks are consumed more.
“Though about 70 percent of the coffee produced is exported, we are focused on promoting consumption across the country, as the beverage is traditionally sipped more in south India,” Coffee Board chairman Jawaid Akthar told the Economic Times ahead of the trade event. Growing popularity of cafe chains like Barista, Coasta Coffee, Coffee Day, Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Lavazza and Starbucks across metros and cities has made the brew a fashionable drink among the youth, constituting 45 percent of the 1.2-billion people.
“Coffee consumption has been growing five-six percent annually since 2005 after being stagnant for a long time. Bean consumption increased to 115,000 tonnes in 2011 from 50,000 tonnes in 2005 on growth of value-added products and instant coffee,” said Akhtar recalled. Unlike tea, where 80 percent of its production is consumed across the country, per capita consumption of coffee in India is still just about 100 gr compared to as much as 12 kilogram in Finland which has the highest per capita consumption in the world while most other European countries average between 6 and 10 kilograms and domestic use in Latin America and the U.S. is reaching figures between 4 and 5 kg.
And when the packed conference program for Jan 24 and 25 starts it will be with an exclusive treat to participants who will be able to hear the inspiring tales on fostering real economic progress in developing countries first hand from Nobel Laureate Dr R. K. Pachauri.
India has for years been among the world’s 6 or 7 largest coffee growing countries. But while most consumers know India better for tea, the popularity of Indian coffee has been growing steadily in foreign markets during the last decade. And in the last 15 years the Coffee Board of India, chief organizers of the IICF, has also embarked on expanding production in a number of new regions.
“Traditionally all our coffee has been in the south with the three states of Karnataka, Kerela and Tamil Nadu making up for between 90 and 95 percent of India’s total production. The rest of the regions are all very small in output but during the last 15 years we have gradually added 60,000 hectares of new coffee in our main new region, the Araku Valley in the state of Andhra Pradesh in north-eastern India,” said Jawaid Akhtar, chairman of the Coffee Board of India.
The show also celebrated the India Barista Championship and the event is estimated to have attracted some 10,000 local and foreign visitors, who will be treated to a variety of flavours ranging from black coffee, cold coffee, iced coffee to spice coffee by global retail chains, brands and instant makers.
“Though consumption nearly doubled over the last decade, India lags far behind developed countries and even coffee-producing nations in South America due to various factors, including production being limited traditionally to southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” said Akthar. Steady economic growth, increasing urbanization and growing consumer class in the new workforce have, however, redefined drinking habits and made coffee a preferred choice for the refreshing change it brings in a variety of flavors.
“A growing number of youth taking to coffee in metros and cities across the country is an encouraging sign for us. As coffee culture spreads, the trend is turning into a lifestyle, thanks to the advantage of demographic dividend,” Coffee Day president Venu Madhav told IANS here. Buoyed by the overwhelming response to the flagship fest over the past decade, the Coffee Board of the union commerce ministry and India Coffee Trust of the industry have been able to attract about 60 overseas and domestic firms, over 1,000 delegates and 40 global experts to participate in the event’s fifth edition and showcase products and technologies.
“India is at an inflection point in developing its coffee market. With newer formats, services and new entrants, we see people’s familiarity and affinity with the brew transforming,” Hindustan Unilever executive director Geetu Verma noted on the occasion. With a view to doubling the per capita consumption to 180gm by this decade, the event will focus on the `changing face of coffee’ and experts will deliberate on production and marketing trends, while other stakeholders will hold skill-building workshops on processing, roasting and brewing. “We have undertaken the mission to develop and propel the Indian coffee sector as a global player and increase its footprint across the country. Towards that end, the fest serves as an ideal platform to train and orient new entrants wanting to be part of the sector,” India Coffee Trust president and leading grower Anil Kumar Bhandari told IANS.
For more about India’s coffee festival see: http://news.oneindia.in/india/coffee-fest-returns-bangalore-with-aroma-1381027.html