Thursday 13 June 2024
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Kathrine Löfberg: “We’ve been a value-driven family business for more than 100 years”

The Chair: "Löfbergs has been a value-driven family business for more than 100 years, and we always will be. It is a strength both internally and externally; for our employees and for coffee farmers, customers and consumers. We want to create good moments for future generations, and we believe in the power of doing it together with others."

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MILAN – Löfbergs Group is one of the largest family-owned coffee roasters in the Nordic countries with a production of than 10 million cups of coffee per day.

It was founded 1906 in Sweden by Anders Löfberg and his brothers John and Josef. Today the group consists of different brands, local roasting houses and offices in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Latvia and the UK. We talked with Kathrine Löfberg, Chair of the family-owned coffee group.

Löfbergs is a Family Business founded in 1906: how has the group evolved in response to changes in consumption and the market since that beginning?

“What started as a small local company founded by my great grandfather, is now an international business. Today our production equals 10 million cups of great tasting coffee each day, of which half is sold outside Sweden. We are active on 10 core markets in Northern Europe, but our coffee is served all over to the world thanks to global customers like for instance IKEA. We have always had respect for history, but constantly looked forward. I would say that the secret behind our positive development is the curiosity and passion for good coffee.”

The Löfberg family, 4th generation
From left: Martin Löfberg, Helene Söderholm, Therese Gustafsson, Mikael Löfberg, Kathrine Löfberg och Niklas Löfberg. (photo granted By: Tommy Andersson)
Over the years, the brands Löfbergs, Peter Larsen Kaffe, Percol and Kobbs have also joined the group: how has it evolved in terms of organisation and opportunities?

“We have grown both organically and thorugh aquistions over the years. When incorporating new business and brands is has always been important to secure we share the same values and driving forces; to offer sustanabily sourced and great tasting coffe and tea to a more and more consumers and customers. This has given us the opportunity to grow on all our markets.”

Löfbergs in Finland and Poland, will lead the new business area to spread the Swedish fika culture to eastern Europe: what are the strategic moves to conquer this new market share?

“These are very exciting markets, where the interest for taste, quality and sustainability is growing which means we are relevant to many people and companies. Our offering, both when it comes to products and services, has been well received, not least in Finland, the country with the highest coffee consumptions in the world, where we have had a huge success with our dark roasted coffee.”

What are the tastes and habits in this part of the world? How do you look after your roasting profiles?

“We have always benefited from our early decision to offer the same high quality and great taste in all markets. We have a long experience and follow the development and trends in our business carefully, at the same time we are confident we are able to meet local needs and demands with our broad assortments.”

Löfbergs Group is convinced that through digitalisation, the dynamics of exploitation of farmers can be disrupted: can you tell us about the Era of We global platform?

“Despite a huge increase in value in the coffee industry in recent years, both coffee farmers and plantations continue to operate under tremendous pressure. Era of We is the world’s first digital end-to-end platform, which aims to disrupt and reinvent the coffee supply chain and shift the value of coffee brands back to coffee farmers. At the same time it gives consumers the possibility to discover unique products with a great story. We have a strong belief in Era of We, and are happy to be the first roaster onboard.”

Social and then environmental sustainability: with Econova as a partner, Lofbergs has started a trial to generate zero waste with the circular transformation of coffee residues. How is the experiment progressing and what goals have you set for this year?

“The cooperation with Econova is one of many activities to reach our goal to be 100% circular with zero waste. It also shows the need and strength of doing things together. Here we conducted a test if residues from our coffee roastery could be used to produce nutritious garden soil, which would mean coffee residues could replace fossil peat, which would decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases. As the test was positive it means we are able to decrease our waste even more. At the same, it is a solution that we would love to see other roasteries use as well, since the entire coffee industry needs a circular transformation.”

On the same path, the group has promoted the Circular Coffee Community initiative to consumers: how is it developing?

“Circular Coffee Community has been met by great interest and is developing in a very positive way. It´s a platform where companies, research institutes and organisations are partnering to discuss and drive circular transformation in the world of coffee. Our shared efforts result in business opportunities for our partners and ourselves, increased sustainability in coffee farming and production, and better livelihoods for coffee farmers.”

Still on the subject of environmental sustainability through support for farmers, Löfberg is an active participant in the Coffee&Climate initiative: how did this non-profit organisation come into being, where does it operate, what has it already achieved and what are the next steps in responding to the challenge of climate change?

“coffee&climate was founded and is run by the shareholders of International Coffee Partners, which consist of Löfbergs and 7 other European family-owned coffee companies, and some associate members. The purpose of our work is to support smallholder coffee farming families to respond effectively to the effects of climate change, increase their resilience and improve their livelihoods. We operate in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Brazil, Honduras, and Guatemala, and moving forward we will continue to identify further methods and tools to meet climate changes and spread them to more people in the global coffee sector.”

In the coming years, what are the guidelines drawn for Löfberg, combining its family soul with the dimensions of an international industry?

“Löfbergs has been a value-driven family business for more than 100 years, and we always will be. It is a strength both internally and externally; for our employees and for coffee farmers, customers and consumers. We want to create good moments for future generations, and we believe in the power of doing it together with others.”


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