Julius Meinl, which recorded its best year in the history of the company in 2019 with a sales growth of +4.5% and a profit growth of +15%, remains optimistic about its future as a leading brand in the premium coffee industry despite impacts caused by Covid-19.
The family-run company and number 1 premium HoReCa brand in Austria, CEE, Adriatics, Russia and Dubai, believes the brand strategy of innovative solutions and consistency in quality and service uniquely positions it for recovery in 2021 and beyond.
Evidence for this optimism can also be found in the recent research commissioned by the Speciality Coffee Association (SCA) under the presidency of Christina Meinl, Head of Innovations at Julius Meinl. Whilst the evidence suggests that since the pandemic began there has been an overall decrease in coffee consumption, mainly driven by coffee shop lockdowns around the globe, the demand for high quality coffee remains. At home consumption increased, while out of home consumption adapted to provide the same coffee experience observing new rules and social distancing measures. The research also highlighted other changes in consumer buying behaviours indicative of recovery such as a significant increase (5.38%) in curbside/pickup purchases and online purchases.
Christina Meinl shares her predictions on the effects of COVID-19 on the industry: “Unsurprisingly, given global lockdown, social distancing restrictions and the personal financial impact on consumer spending there has been a significant decrease in out of home sales. Short term, the industry is likely to feel the effects of this however there are still reasons to be hopeful. The increase in online sales proves the consumer demand for high quality coffee as a more affordable luxury item remains and has the potential to fuel longer term growth. HoReCa businesses that focus on serving premium coffee and offer a high-quality in-house experience will, longer term, attract customers, new and returning, into their outlets.”
Whilst the pandemic has affected the industry at every level of the coffee value chain these challenges have also led to accelerated innovation in the sector. As a leader in the sector Julius Meinl used the lockdown period to develop concepts for customers to make the transition to the new normal as smooth as possible. This started with the mass rollout of the “Safer Coffee Preparation” programme of new hygiene requirements certified by ASIC (Austrian Society of Infection Control). As the to go and takeaway business gained in importance the brand also developed a new Coffee 2 Go concept including biodegradable takeaway cups and dedicated trade marketing materials, to support its HoReCa partners globally and continue its efforts to operate sustainably.
Christina Meinl comments: “Julius Meinl has always championed innovation, sustainability and collaboration within the sector. For these reasons we are uniquely positioned to
respond in the face of the crisis. We will continue to learn and adapt to serve partners globally to the highest of standards focusing on flexible, innovative and sustainable solutions, advancing digitization and establishing new distribution channels in line with the highest safety standards. By staying true to our core values and the quality of our product, together with our partners and customers around the world, we will emerge stronger than before.”