MILAN — The coffee served in restaurants has always been a bit of a sore point. Often, even after a meal of exceptionally high quality, the coffee served leaves a lot to be desired. It is a very real problem: the absence of skilled staff, the difficulties of installing adequate machinery for reasons of space and cost, and the generally low level of quality achieved mean that there is no easy or cheap way to find a solution.
“It’s our job to get the message across that coffee – just like any other product we serve – needs to be understood, respected and given due attention. We must start with chefs, who in turn need to train up staff to a level of professionalism where they are in a position to serve high-quality coffee also in restaurants,” says Fabrizio Corti, product specialist with Modbar.
Will anything change in Italy now that Starbucks has arrived?
“Our hope is that Starbucks can be a new accelerator that gives a boost to the world of coffee, so people begin to learn more about it and its popularity in Italy. We are also keen to see more players starting to encourage a greater use of quality coffee.”
One possible solution to the problem is single-portion coffee, which is of ever higher quality to keep the product fresh until the moment it is used (something that makes the use of coffee in bean form rather difficult, given the relatively small quantities being handled) and also more sustainable.
So packaging is becoming increasingly important for the coffee industry
As Véronique van Zyl, head of marketing (Foodpack & Beverage) for the Finnish company Ahlstrom-Munksjö explains: “The main innovation we see in terms of product is actually in terms of how it is packaged: while consumers still want the convenience of single-serve formats like pods and capsules (even bags), they also do not want to feel bad about it, regarding their environmental impact. So for us, all the major innovations we have are focused on maintaining a technical performance, while providing a sustainable end of life, usually compostability.”