Coffee break with Sucafina

Coffee break with Sucafina

Imad El Karkafy, senior trader at Sucafina, discusses coffee trends, the technology impacting the industry and Sucafina’s sustainability pledge.

What are the latest coffee trends?
The Middle East and North Africa market is following Europe, the U.S. and Asia slowly but surely. Today, commercial coffees and the classic preparation method (espresso-based coffees with milk and sugar) are still the norm. However, that’s starting to change.
The most recent trend we’ve seen is a population with disposable income who are looking for coffees that are more in line with what we’d characterize as “specialty.”
They’re seeking a rounded and balanced cup or distinctive tastes, such as fruits and florals, as well as pleasant acidity or a distinctive mouthfeel. Typically, these newer specialty coffees are sourced as micro lots that come from smaller farms and utilize specific and more costly processing methods (e.g. washed, natural, honey-processed, anaerobic techniques).
Lockdowns caused by the pandemic were partially behind the boom in “inhome consumption,” which was a major catalyst for specialty coffee and its related preparation methods, including V60, French press and so forth.
In parallel, we are noticing a spike in cold brew consumption.

Sucafina seeks to drive the industry forward through technology, agronomy, finance and logistics. How has modern technology affected the coffee industry?
Thanks to modern technology, the coffee industry has evolved in all aspects. These changes can be seen in production right the way through to roasting, brewing and online distribution. A few real life examples would be Cropster, ProfilePrint (digital food fingerprint), Farmer Connect and Trade in Space.

Today, technology allows the producer to monitor its quality, yield, soil and many other key factors that enable the fine-tuning of the coffee production cycle. The same is applicable to roasters and even to final consumption. We can standardize roasting, create online brewing and traceability information, online ordering applications, self-serve kiosks and more. Technology also helps to enhance transparency and enable data sharing, which helps to build strong bridges between farmers, roasters and end consumers. With such innovative modern technology and approaches, farmers in the industry can earn more, roasters can standardize their business practices and consumers can see live updates on the whole supply chain at all stages.

How is Sucafina implementing its strategy to tackle sustainability issues faced by global coffee production?
Sucafina supports the objectives of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). We are directly contributing to 15 of the 17 SDGs through all our sustainability actions and initiatives. We have defined three main goals
for each of our key strategic pillars, as well as actions and KPIs, so we can monitor our progress year on year. Our three main goals and the key strategic pillars are:
• Investing in farmers: building capacity to improve farmers’ prosperity, increase responsibly sourced coffee production by training farmers and increasing traceability in our supply chain.
• Caring for people: enhancing employee health and safety, well-being and career development, respecting and promoting human rights, and supporting our communities.
• Protecting our planet: conserving water resources, reducing carbon emissions and preventing deforestation in our supply chain.

Premiumization is a determinant factor in the coffee industry; how can a coffee brand achieve it?
Indeed, premiumization today is a necessity for survival. The increasing interest in high-quality beans around the globe is remarkable. But it’s not the only thing consumers are looking for. Nowadays, it’s not enough to have a premium cup of coffee; protecting farmers’ livelihoods and our planet are also priorities for consumers.
Enhancing traceability, sourcing responsibly and delivering biodegradable coffee packaging is becoming the new norm in terms of communicating brand value.

Imad El Karkafy
senior trader at Sucafina
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