Study shows Australian coffee buying habits are changing

Australian coffee buying habits

According to the Rainforest Alliance, Australian consumers’ purchasing behaviours and buying habits around coffee have positively changed with more consumers continuing to educate themselves on the importance of buying and sourcing coffee sustainably.

Released in conjunction with International Coffee Day on 1 October, the Rainforest Alliance says coffee lovers are trying to lower they impact on the planet through changing daily coffee rituals such as buying sustainable coffee or investing in a reusable cup.

“The Australian coffee market is amongst the largest in the world, with coffee culture forming a large part of Australia’s cultural identity. In fact, over the last decade Australia’s coffee imports have more than doubled, likely fuelled by the booming café industry and an ever-increasing appetite for coffee,” says Melanie Mokken, Markets Transformation Manager of Australia and New Zealand for the Rainforest Alliance.

Melanie says in 2021, Australians consumed roughly two kilograms of coffee per day, reflecting how engrained a morning coffee is in most people’s routines.

“Similarly, demand is increasing beyond Australia, and unless something changes, the current system of coffee production will not be able to meet the increasing global coffee demand in the coming decades,” she says.

“The minimum gap that we expect to see will be 60 million bags. This is a deficit higher than the current annual production of the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil.”

To continue this positive change in 2022, the Rainforest Alliance is encouraging coffee lovers to make it a habit to:

  • Ask the following questions when buying coffee: Where did the beans originate, and how do their sourcing practise contribute to sustainability? Are the coffee producers receiving a decent payment and are their ecosystems being protected?
  • Check whether the sustainability labels have been verified by an independent party when purchasing coffee and tea in cafes, restaurants, supermarkets or grocery stores, and;
  • Take a reusable cup to the local coffee shop to avoid waste.

These tips have been released as part of the Rainforest Alliance’s Follow the Frog campaign, which ran from 27 September to 3 October and saw the not-profit promote ways to create a more sustainable coffee sector through its digital platforms.

“Eighty-seven per cent of consumers expect companies to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues and 62 per cent say that they make sustainably conscious purchasing choices even when it is more expensive to do so,” says Melanie.

“Australians are not afraid to support businesses with their wallets when they are doing the right thing for the planet, and this comes right down to their local coffee shop.”

The Rainforest Alliance further conducted its own study in June 2021 which saw 1001 Australian respondents between the ages of 18 to 65 take part.

The study found that 83 per cent of Australians are concerned about deforestation of the world’s rainforests, and the impact it will have on the planet. It was also found that 63 per cent of participants reported looking at the product labels to ensure they were making social and environmentally sustainable purchasing decisions.

“At the Rainforest Alliance, we are working to better position coffee farmers by connecting them with responsible businesses, and by providing training in climate-smart and regenerative growing practices that help boost productivity and make them more resilient [to the effects of climate change],” says Melanie.

According to the Rainforest Alliance, less than 25 per cent of global coffee production is procured by a standard-compliant method, while as much as 55 per cent of global production is certified. This indicates that a substantial number of farmers are unable to recognise any economic benefits from this improved market and access.

The Rainforest Alliance says it will continue to appeal to the coffee industry to favour independently verified certified coffee over conventional coffee, therefore supporting producers and a more sustainable sector.

“The well-being of farmers and workers is vital to the sustainability of any agricultural business, and the Rainforest Alliance certification program also promotes the human rights of those working in the coffee sector. When customers see our seal, the little green frog, on products, it means that the certified ingredient in the product was grown on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms,” says Melanie.

“It is important to remember that making small individual changes, such as seeking out sustainably sourced coffee, can add up to vast positive impacts. It’s not far-fetched to suggest that when Aussies’ change their coffee rituals, they really can change the world.”

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