Cuppa Class

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The power of the little coffee bean shows no sign of abating. Certainly we at Exhibition News have no wish to make a mocha-ery of the strength of the humble cuppa. According to research published this year from Allegra Strategies, a leading food, retail and hospitality research consultancy, the total UK coffee shop market is estimated at 16,501 outlets with a £6.2 billion total turnover. Allegra’s report states that Project Café 13 UK, the branded coffee chain segment recorded £2.6 billion turnover across 5,531 outlets, delivering sales growth of 9.3 per cent and outlet growth of 5.9 per cent, adding 306 stores in 2013. Upper Street Events’ Caffe Culture show at Olympia London on 14-15 May looked to tap into this market. This year’s event featured 216 exhibitors, up from 206 in 2013. The show was just shy of 5,000sqm. Coffee connossieurs are now a lot more discerning, and among the expected heavyweight coffee bean exhibitors, there was a bevy of artisanal cake bakers, specialist filter coffee maker Aerobie Aeropress (a favourite in the EN office), syrups, and assorted food and drink products you’d expect to see on the shelves. Walking the floors there seemed a seamless quality to the show floor. Too often at similar exhibitons in this market, cheap and ugly stand schemes are squashed around the sides of the show floor to adorn the show’s centrepiece structures. For this event, the stands at the corner of the show floor had arguably some of the best products.The exhibitors were looking to catch some of the heavyweight coffee chains which is all we see at regular intervals along our high streets as well as a few budding entrepreneurs in the market.“The visitors are all looking at something that promotes the coffee shop experience,” said event director Cheryl Carroll.  The Allegra report found that after 15 years of considerable growth, the coffee shop sector continues to be one of the most successful in the UK economy.  Costa Coffee (1,670 outlets), Starbucks Coffee Company (790) and Caffè Nero (560) remain the UK’s leading brands with 54 per cent branded chain market outlet share.  Physical expansion by leading chains remains the core driver of market growth. Costa added 118 UK outlets and 18 per cent sales growth in 2013. Last year Caffe Culture had an attendance of 4,413 people, of which 19 per cent had a purchasing authority over £100,000. “We received overwhelming exhibitor feedback confirming that attendees included a great blend of senior buyers and top level purchasers as well as new exciting entrants into the market,” said Carroll. The May 2014 event, the ninth edition of the show at Olympia London, featured a new look at street food and a greater focus on locally-sourced products. “As well as refreshing our branding, creative and onsite aesthetic we responded to 2013 feedback as well as industry developments by having a big artisanal focus,” said Carroll. “We made an effort to educate visitors as to how to set themselves apart from their competitors by delivering high-quality produce from more independent suppliers. We also demonstrated what they could add by producing more of their own food in-house, so we had some great sessions on the Taste Theatre from leading baker Peter Sidwell. “There was also new content about the burgeoning street food scene with sessions from Richard Johnson, author of Street Food Revolution and organiser of the British Street Food Awards, and Nick Friedman from Jamon Jamon. “To reflect the content about independently produced and sourced food/drink, we introduced an Artisan Food Market which allowed very small producers to show off their wares and which was a hugely popular feature. The stands were made from recycled pallets and decorated with festoon lighting so we were successful in creating a rustic marketplace.”  Caffe Culture also ran a VIP Buyer programme, which included a range of special benefits such as complimentary food and drink in the Pitfield Café and fast-track access. Senior buyers from companies like Eat, Selfridges and Coffee Republic were all in attendance. Allegra concluded that one in five coffee consumers visit coffee shops every day compared with one in nine in 2009, drinking an estimated 1.7 billion cups of coffee per year. For this growing trade show which doesn’t filter its excitement for the market and provides interesting products by the spoonful – well we certainly drink to that.   This was first published in the June issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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