MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — This year’s Coffee and Tea Show was packed with informative seminars, hands-on workshops and exhibitors who shared their latest coffee and tea products and services with attendees from all facets of the foodservice industry.
Louise Roberge, president of the Tea Association of Canada, offered updates on the current state of the industry, starting with the association’s revised mission statement. “Our mission is to be the absolute voice of the tea industry responsible for government relations, advocacy and providing PR and communication to consumers and industry,” Roberge said. “Our vision is to be the leading authority and industry voice on all things tea in Canada.”
According to Roberge, Canada now imports 18,900 metric tons of tea per year from India (10.6 per cent), Sri Lanka (4.2 per cent), Kenya (11.2 per cent), China (9.1 per cent), the U.K (19.7 per cent) and the U.S. (17.4 per cent). Of the total tea imports to Canada in 2015, 80 per cent was black tea and 20 per cent was green tea.
Throughout the tea-centric seminars and workshops, it was evident that the Canadian tea industry is continuing to enjoy rapid growth. Men, for example — a demographic which had, until recently, seen little year-over-year growth in tea consumption — expressed more interest in the beverage in 2015. Roberge’s research associates the recent spike in men’s tea consumption to more baby boomers retiring; as men spend more time with their spouses at home, they are beginning to pick up on some of their partners’ habits, such as brewing a pot of tea throughout the day.
An update on the coffee industry was provided by the Coffee Association of Canada (CAC) president, Lesya-Balych Cooper — who presented compelling industry facts, figures, trends and analysis from the association’s proprietary research study for 2015 (2016 results were not yet available at the time of the presentation).
Cooper said the core purpose of CAC is to act as “Champions for the advancement and enjoyment of coffee in Canada.” For more than 20 years, CAC has been advocating coffee in Canada on behalf of its members and in partnership with the Canadian government, regulators and NGOS.
In 2015, coffee represented a $6.2-billion industry in Canada, making it the second-most popular beverage after flavoured soft drinks and ahead of water and tea. Out of home, it is the most-consumed beverage and in foodservice alone, it accounts for $4.8 billion in sales. While most other beverages are on the decline, coffee continues to hold its market share, with very little change in its year-over-year numbers. In 2015, it saw a 2-per-cent decrease in market share, while milk, for example, dropped by 10 per cent.
Though regular coffee continues to be an industry staple — which Cooper assures us is not going anywhere — she stressed the importance of getting onboard with specialty and gourmet coffees, if foodservice operators want to remain current. “The biggest change in the last few years has been the growth of specialty beverages,” Cooper said. “That’s why — even though we have a great deal of traditional coffee drinkers — we can’t afford to not think of the innovation and new specialty beverages that are out there.”
Written By Eric Alister