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Coffee battles move to supermarkets

Dimitra Manifava

Companies involved in the sale of coffee and related products have been forced by the Covid-19 pandemic to shift their sales strategy and prioritize retail markets.

The pandemic has kept bars, cafes and restaurants kept for many months and companies who sell to the catering sector fear new restrictions from the fall, if Covid-19’s new variants spread. In effect, coffee consumption has shifted from caterers and offices to homes, which now double as workplaces.

Coffee retailers also seek cross-platform collaborations. The latest example is Coffee Island, a Patra-based company whose 470 outlets, in Greece and Cyprus, but also in Canada, Dubai, Switzerland and the UK, sell coffee beans and related products, entering into an agreement with supermarket chain Sklavenitis to sell its products. It is also in talks with other retailers.

Coca-Cola HBC, the second-largest Coke bottling company, which also sells Costa Coffee products, after the Coca-Cola Company acquired UK-based Costa Limited, had planned, before the pandemic, to prioritize coffeeshops.

Now, it has also shifted its strategy to retail outlets. It started placing Costa Coffee products in retailers in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania in May 2020, and gradually extended this sales strategy to Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Russia, Austria, Poland and Cyprus, the latter in April 2021.

Coca-Cola has also bought a 30% stake in Italian coffee chain Casa del Caffe Vergnano and follows the same product placement strategy as with the Costa Coffee products, except in Italy.

Another multinational, Nestle, has undertaken to place products of US chain Starbucks in retail spaces, from supermarkets to kiosks.


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