Scandinavian countries are the highest per-capita consumers of coffee in the world. According to the CBI Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is an opportunity for coffee origins and suppliers as evidenced by the emergence of small specialty coffee roasters in the region.
On August 27, 2020, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and the Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), in collaboration with the Philippine Embassies in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden and the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. conducted a webinar, entitled “Opportunities for Philippine Coffee in Scandinavia” which was attended by representatives from the government, private sector and academe.
The webinar served as a venue to present the Philippine coffee industry and spread awareness on the coffee cultures of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, respectively.
DTI-EMB Assistant Director Agnes Perpetua Legaspi welcomed the participants from the private sector and expressed hope that the webinar would serve as a starting point for the Philippines and Scandinavia’s partnership on coffee.
The president and co-chairman of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., Ms. Pacita Juan, highlighted the opportunities in promoting Philippine coffee in Scandinavia, leveraging on the growing demand for single-origin green coffee beans in the region. Juan mentioned that Philippine coffee producers could target small niche markets through nano or micro-lot shipments. She also emphasized the importance of educating farmers to produce high-quality coffee and to tell the story behind every coffee in introducing Philippine coffee.
Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Stockholm Commercial Attaché Clariza Columna presented the characteristics of the Scandinavian market, trends, and requirements. Columna mentioned that Scandinavia has the highest per-capita consumption of coffee in the world with Norway ranking 2nd, Denmark ranking 4th, and Sweden ranking 6th. The region imported a total of 161,000 tons of coffee from Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, respectively in 2019.
On market trends, Columna mentioned that there is an increasing number of coffee chains and micro-roasteries and a growing demand for single-origin coffee. Certifications on traceability and sustainability such as Organic, Fairtrade, Ekologisk, and Rainforest Alliance are presumed to be significant.
She also encouraged interested exporters to take advantage of the Philippines’s existing free-trade agreements (FTAs) with the regions such as European Union (EU) for Sweden and Denmark and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) for Norway and to take into consideration the packaging, labeling, and food safety requirements in exporting to Scandinavia. Last, she emphasized that stories from the origin are highly regarded in the region.
The Third Secretary and Vice Consul of the Philippine Embassy in Denmark, Al-bari Macalawan presented an overview of the Danish market and culture, as well as the Philippines and Denmark’s relations. He mentioned that the total trade is valued at around $200 million per year and amid Covid-19, market opportunities in Denmark did not stagnate and are even expected to grow in the next quarter. Macalawan also mentioned the importance of coffee in the Danish culture of practicing “hygge,” or the concept of spending quality time with family and friends.
Specialty Coffee Association Denmark Educational Coordinator Mr. Morten Lydal, presented the Danish Coffee Market. He mentioned that there are around 15 to 17 coffee roasters in Copenhagen and agreed with Macalawan that coffee and hygge come together. He mentioned that Denmark imports around coffee equivalent to 20 million cups per year, with each person consuming 4 to 5 cups per day.
Danish people drink coffee in different ways such as using espresso machines, capsules, and filters, which are the most consumed type of coffee in Denmark. Homebrewing also became a trend because of the pandemic as evidenced by the increased demand for home coffee equipment and specialty coffee bean.
Karlbergs Kafferosteri CEO Mr. Roland Ström and Sales Manager Mr. Douglas Bernefjell presented Sweden’s coffee market. They mentioned that there are four major roasteries and a lot of small roasteries in Sweden that roast quality coffee in smaller batches. Sustainability and certifications such as Organic, Fairtrade, and Rainforest Alliance, and telling the story of the coffee beans were deemed important. They also mentioned that Sweden mostly imports 100 percent Arabica blends and single-origin coffee. People also learned to make their coffee at home because of the pandemic.
For Norway, Norwegian Coffee Association General Manager Marit Lynes noted that 80 percent of the 5.4 million Norwegian population drinks coffee. There are about 80 roasters in Norway, most of which are small roasters that offer light roast high-quality coffee. She also emphasized that Norwegians give much attention to grinding and brewing to maintain quality. Most of Norway’s coffee imports come from Brazil and Colombia and 80 percent are green coffee beans.
Last, she mentioned that the origins and history of coffee beans are important in the Norwegian market. She also emphasized the importance of coffee cupping when introducing coffee to new markets.
According to Philippine Statistics Authority data, Philippine exports of coffee in 2019 was valued at $2.5 million to various markets, such as Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, and the United States, among others. Scandinavia is being explored as a possible market for Philippine coffee, targeting the niche market for single-origin coffee.
The webinar served as a prelude to the activities being lined up by the DTI-EMB and the FTSC for the coffee industry.