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Organic Coffee Market Tops $1.4 Billion, New Survey Shows

By Organic Trade Association Press Release (6/15/10)

  JUNE 20, 2010 --

The North American organic coffee market topped 1.4 billion dollars in 2009, according to new data released today by leading market analyst Daniele Giovannucci at the fifth annual tasting event hosted by the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association (OTA), at New York City's famous Union Square Cafe. The event featured outstanding organic coffees from foremost American roasters and retailers. Even in a recession, Giovannucci found, organic coffee continued its reign as the single most valuable organic product imported into North America.

The Collaboration features leading firms from Vermont to California and from Florida to Canada. Participants include: Beantrees Organic Coffee Company (Sacramento, CA), Caffe Ibis (Logan, UT), Chiapas Farms (Austin, TX), Elan Organic Coffee (San Diego, CA), Control Union Certifications (Plantation, FL) Equator Estate Coffees & Teas (San Rafael, CA), Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters (West Chester, PA), Green Mountain Coffee (Waterbury, VT), S&D Coffee (Concord, NC), Sun Coffee Roasters (Plainville, CT), and Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company (Burnaby, BC, Canada). From sourcing coffees at origin to roasting, decaffeinating, and brewing them, these participants represent the full organic coffee supply chain spectrum.

Brew what you believe® According to Giovannucci's North American Organic Coffee Industry Report 2010, more than 93 million pounds of organic coffee were imported into the United States and Canada in 2009.

Giovannucci, the world's most respected authority on the topic of sustainability, notes "The 4.1 percent growth of the organic coffee market this past year is an important achievement for a higher priced product during a recession and when much of the conventional coffee industry has been stagnant." The average annual growth rate of 21 percent for organic coffee documented by Giovannucci in the five years from 2004 to 2009 dwarfs the estimated one percent annual growth of the conventional coffee industry.

"It's not surprising that demand for organic coffee is growing. Consumers are increasingly knowledgeable about the attributes of organic coffee-its benefits not only to the environment and health but also to the livelihoods of the farmers who produce it," according to OTA's Executive Director Christine Bushway.

The report, available from the Organic Trade Association, reveals not only the origins, volumes and prices of organic coffee but also the trends that shape the markets for these and other coffees certified to Bird Friendly, Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ CERTIFIED, and Starbucks' C.A.F.E. Practices standards.

Recent data from the Organic Trade Association's 2010 Organic Industry Survey indicate that U.S. sales of organic products, including food and non-food, reached $26.6 billion by the end of 2009, growing an impressive 5.1 percent over 2008 sales, compared to 1.5 percent for conventional industry's sales growth.

Organic coffee equals quality coffee. According to the results of Cup of Excellence cuppings coordinated by the U.S.-based Alliance for Coffee Excellence, organic coffees were among the winning farms in five countries in 2009: Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In fact, the highest ranking attained all year was for organic coffee from the Bolivian farm Agrotakesi SA, earning 93.96 points, more than a full point above the next highest ranking coffee that year.

Union Square Cafe, which has earned Zagat Survey's #1 ranking as New York's Most Popular Restaurant for an unprecedented eight years, is one of the many restaurants and other food establishments across the U.S. offering organic coffees to their discriminating clientele.


Organic coffee is grown using methods and materials with low impact on the environment. Organic production systems replenish and maintain soil fertility, avoid the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers, and build biologically diverse agriculture. Third-party certification organizations verify that organic farmers use only methods and materials allowed in organic production. Organic coffee is grown in approximately 40 countries.

The Organic Coffee Collaboration - a project of the Organic Trade Association, the business association for the North American organic industry, includes:

BEANTREES ORGANIC COFFEE: In 1994, Beantrees brought "ultra-premium" to the organic coffee market. "Brew what you believe®" is its credo and compass. Beantrees continues to elevate standards for taste, integrity, service and style. Its client roster includes Yahoo!, Live Nation, NRDC, Aerosmith, Sundance, Table 52, The Police, and the Cannes Film Festival.

CAFFE IBIS: An award-winning "green business," Caffe Ibis is a custom coffee roasting house featuring triple certified- organic, Fair Trade, and Smithsonian Shade Grown "Bird-Friendly®"- coffees, mountain grown, mountain roasted. Caffe Ibis® also operates a celebrated gallery/deli-licious espresso bar. University franchise, private label, equipment programs, monthly specials, and consulting services are available.

CHIAPAS FARMS: Café de Chiapas coffee from Chiapas Farms is grown in the southern highlands of Mexico. Roasted in small batches, each cup delivers a nutty, buttery taste with a smooth, slightly sweet finish. Buy its whole-bean organic/Fair Trade dark and medium roasts in Texas retailers and online.

CONTROL UNION: Control Union is a leading international certification body with offices in more than 50 countries. In the coffee industry, Control Union offers numerous certification programs including organic, UTZ Certified, and Fair Trade. With two offices in the U.S. and more than 2,000 professionals worldwide, it offers quality inspections and certifications.

ELAN ORGANIC COFFEES: Elan Organic Coffees is a coffee developer and importer offering certified organic socially responsible and Bird Friendly® coffees developed through partnerships with village co-ops in coffee-producing countries. Elan has pioneered the supply of the world's finest certified organic coffees, while supporting farmers and protecting the environment.

EQUATOR ESTATE COFFEES & TEAS: Equator is known for its distinctive specialty coffees, socially responsible sourcing, and long-standing relationships with prominent chefs and national retailers passionate about quality. The women-owned company procures exceptional certified organic coffees from farmers who practice environmental stewardship, resulting in an empowered supply chain from crop to cup.

GOLDEN VALLEY FARMS COFFEE ROASTERS: Golden Valley Farms Coffee Roasters is a family-owned and operated artisan coffee roaster. It specializes in high quality, organic, Smithsonian Institution Bird-Friendly®-certified shade grown coffees. Its coffee is sold at convenience stores, offices, restaurants, online, and at the National Zoo.

GREEN MOUNTAIN COFFEE: Green Mountain Coffee is recognized as a leader in the specialty coffee industry for its award-winning coffees and environmentally and socially responsible business practices. Green Mountain Coffee offers a broad selection of double-certified organic and Fair Trade coffees under the Green Mountain Coffee® and Newman's Own® Organics brands.

ORGANIC TRADE ASSOCIATION (OTA): OTA was founded in 1985 as the membership-based business association for the North American organic industry. OTA's mission is to promote and protect growth of organic trade to benefit the environment, farmers, the public and the economy. OTA's approximately 1,400 members include farmers, processors, importers, distributors, retailers, certifiers, and more.

S&D COFFEE: S&D is the second largest coffee roaster in the U.S. and supplies both conventional and organic coffees. The company feels strongly about fostering sustainable agriculture and promoting a healthy planet. Quality Assurance International (QAI) certifies S&D's six organic coffees sold under the Buffalo & Spring label.

SUN COFFEE ROASTERS is an organic and Fair Trade roaster in Plainfield, CT. Its coffees are sold at Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Big Y, and other Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island retailers as well as colleges throughout the Northeast. The company offers private labeling and a comprehensive scholarship and educational curriculum.

SWISS WATER DECAFFEINATED COFFEE COMPANY uses a wholesome process for decaffeinating coffee - 100% chemical free, organically certified. It now offers improved quality with bean color more similar to the green for easier roasting, and higher retention of chlorogenic and amino acids for better in-cup performance. The SWISS WATER® seal is trusted by premium roasters and decaf coffee drinkers.

For more information on the Organic Coffee Collaboration, a project of the Organic Trade Association, see http://www.ota.com/organic_and_you/coffee_collaboration.html.



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