The coffee industry will see many changes in the coming decades. Demand will continue to grow worldwide, especially for high-quality beans, even as the effects of climate change seriously threaten traditional supply routes. Physical place will lose its meaning as the Third Wave gives way to the Fourth and possibly even Fifth waves. Emerging markets like Brazil and China will become ever-more important and new categories will emerge that challenge our notions of what “coffee” even is.
Emerging technologies and the changing world post-pandemic are pushing global coffee towards an era in which physical place matters less with each passing year. Good coffee can now increasingly be ordered and consumed anywhere, a re-thinking of occasions so important it could well prove to be the Fourth Wave of coffee.
The serious threat to the Coffee Belt from climate change combined with steadily rising global demand is going to put immense pressures on global supplies in the years to come. The solution will have to be a multi-pronged adaptation from multiple sources to plug the gaps.
A decade of intense consolidation has created four powerful blocs on the top of global coffee. The consolidation wave itself should be much slower in the coming years but the power of these four should only grow, exerting disproportionate influence on the industry.
Energy will remain the core of functional coffee in the future, but this demand will splinter into many directions, from ultra-caffeination to mitigated energy. This will occur against a backdrop of spiking anxiety rates and sleep problems worldwide, which have curiously enough not yet led to a noticeable anti-caffeine backlash.
Many of the most exciting new coffee products of the future will be hard to categorise according to traditional understandings. Close partnerships in the alcoholic and soft drinks spaces will be one major source. Another will be targeting by occasion rather than category, which will see categories such as “premium single serve” develop as recognisable entities.
This is the aggregation of Coffee, Tea, and Other Hot Drinks.See All of Our Definitions
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