Friday 02 December 2022

Robert Carter, President of CAC: “Specialty is a strong area of development in the Canadian coffee market”

The president: "According to our latest proprietary research, espresso-based beverages reached a high (past day consumption) of 26% in June. As the coffee consumer continues to seek out innovation, more independent specialty coffee houses are opening and offering espresso based and non-espresso-based beverages. Cold brew and frozen/iced coffee beverages are expanding on menus across the country"

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MILAN — Robert Carter is a leading restaurant and foodservice expert with over 20 years of unique industry experience spanning executive leadership, strategy, sales, marketing and research. He is the president of Coffee Association of Canada. We had the chance to interview him and ask him some questions about the Coffee Association of Canada and coffee data in Canada.

When did the Coffee Association of Canada come into being and with what objectives?

“The CAC and its Members are champions for the advancement and enjoyment of coffee in Canada. The Association was established in 1991 with the objective to be the primary advocate and expert for the coffee industry in Canada and to undertake a leadership and spokesperson role to effectively address issues that impact stakeholders, provide research and insights and to promote, support and grow the coffee industry in Canada.”

What kind of coffee is drunk in Canada, how is it preferably roasted and then extracted?

“Traditional brewed coffee (drip and single cup brewer) is the primary preference among past day coffee drinkers. Cold Brew remains a niche beverage, but it is gaining traction in the Canadian coffee landscape.”

Is consumption outside the home more developed or is the home bar stronger?

“In-home coffee preparation remains stable vs 2021 at 85%, which still trends higher vs levels seen pre-Covid-19. Out of Home coffee preparation at 42% is significantly higher vs. last year, suggesting a recovery pathway to levels seen in 2019.”

What are the main services provided by your association to support origins and also local operators?

“CAC provides key insights to overall coffee beverage consumption patterns, monitors government regulations and provides networking opportunities. We host an annual conference and conduct exclusive and proprietary industry research, which provides the most comprehensive consumption data and consumer tracking available in Canada. We also liaise with global coffee associations to understand global trends and share these insights with our membership.”

What are the procedures for becoming a member of your association and what does this membership entail?

“Membership is open to all coffee industry sectors, including roasters, retailers, foodservice operators, green coffee importers/exporters, affiliated equipment, packaging and logistics suppliers and allied trades.

  • Advocacy/Government Relations: CAC is actively engaged with all levels of Government and monitors a broad range of issues.
  • Proprietary Canadian Coffee Drinking Study: Provides in-depth data analysis and key insights on Canadian-specific coffee and related product consumption habits of the Canadian coffee consumer year over year
  • Sponsorship and Advertising Program: Exclusive access to advertising and sponsorship opportunities
  • Educational Webinars: Monthly thought-leadership sessions feature key insights on a wide range of topics
  • Annual Conference: A platform for comprehensive learning and networking opportunities alongside key industry leaders and stakeholders
  • Website & Members Only Portal: Facilitates outreach and provides important issue highlights to our members
  • Board and Committee Volunteer Opportunities: Comprised of a volunteer board and committee members, CAC’s Board oversees committee work related to government relations, consumption research, marketing and public relations, and general management of the association.”

Are there currently many members?

“Yes, our membership is representative of large roasters in Canada, chain restaurants, microroasters, importers and other allied businesses relevant to the coffee industry.”

Why are industry associations still significant today?

“The coffee sector in Canada is a 6-billion-dollar industry and represents a diverse community of roasters, retailers, importers, and other related businesses. As an important component of the Canadian economic landscape, the CAC is focused on enhancing the coffee beverage experience, representing our members, as well as ethically and responsibly championing the advancement of the coffee industry.

As the overall business climate evolves, it is important to be reflective of areas such as BIPOC and DEI and support the evolution of the coffee industry in Canada.”

Do you also have more focused programmes on a fairer and also more gender-equal supply chain?

“As part of our evolving mandate and 3-year strategic plan, the CAC is expanding its focus on DEI and sharing stories via our BIPOC Series, which is dedicated to highlighting BIPOC members of the coffee community, to elevate profile and awareness, and support diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

What are the wider activities, such as events and conferences organised by you like this in November?

“In addition to networking, we have many touch points to keep our members and industry informed, such as monthly newsletters, webinars, member alerts, government relations updates and research communications.”

What do you foresee in the association’s near future? Are you expanding, are you part of a wider network?

“The CAC has been around for over 30 years and its mandate continues to evolve to reflect the changing landscape. The association continues to develop strategic relationships with parallel industry organizations such as Restaurants Canada, Food, Health and Consumer Products of Canada and the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada.

CAC has established strong connections with industry on a national scale, including the National Coffee Association, European Coffee Federation, British Coffee Association, Swiss Coffee Trade Association, and the German Coffee Association.”

How much is the specialty coffee market developing in Canada? Are the specialized coffee shops spreading?

“Overall, the specialty coffee continues to be a strong area of development in Canadian market. According to our latest proprietary research, espresso-based beverages reached a high (past day consumption) of 26% in June.

As the coffee consumer continues to seek out innovation, more independent specialty coffee houses are opening and offering espresso based and non-espresso-based beverages. Cold brew and frozen/iced coffee beverages are expanding on menus across the country.”

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