Switzerland, king of coffee country

After Migros: Nestlé. At the beginning of September, the orange distributor unveiled coffee pods without capsules, five weeks later, it was the turn of the Veveysan giant to announce compostable versions with, in the background, a coffee market that pays big in Switzerland.

In many ways, the Confederation is not only the country of chocolate and cheese but also that of coffee. Switzerland has been exporting more coffee than chocolate (since 2008) and cheese (2007) for a dozen years. Since 2011, it has exported more than chocolate and cheese combined.

Last year, the country sold nearly $3.3 billion worth of coffee internationally, more than twice the amount of chocolate and coffee exports combined (1.5 billion). Switzerland imported 909 million francs worth of coffee that year. Customs report, on the coffee front, a favorable trade balance for Switzerland of 2.4 billion dollars in 2021.

Read also: After the innovation of Migros, Nespresso announces a compostable capsule

Switzerland mainly exports coffee to the United States, France and Germany – together, these three countries accounted for almost half of Swiss coffee outlets last year, according to customs. In 2021, the two main coffee suppliers were Brazil and Colombia, far ahead of the others.

There is of course Nespresso, the subsidiary of Nestlé which encapsulates all its coffee in French-speaking Switzerland in factories in Orbe (VD), Avenches (VD) and Romont (FR). But there are nearly 80 other roasters in the country, from La Semeuse to Migros, via Nescafé, Caffè Chicco d’Oro or UCC Coffee Switzerland.

And there is the lesser known part, that of a supplier in particular. Thermoplan, a family business in Weggis, a village in the Lucerne Alps, has been supplying coffee machines to giants such as Starbucks and Nestlé around the world for many years.

Trading hub

More than half of the world’s coffee is also traded by companies based in French-speaking Switzerland, according to the Swiss Association of Coffee Traders, which lists around forty member companies. Among the latter, we can mention Ecom, Cofco international, Cargill, Volcafé, Louis Dreyfus Company, Sucafina, Nestlé or Starbucks. The boss of the trading division of the latter group, in Lausanne, has just left the company, according to the agency Bloomberg.

Read also: “I am a coffee merchant, not a trader”

Companies, like the Genevoise Farmer Connect, want to make the supply chain transparent from farmers to consumers through blockchain. The Swiss are, finally, among the main consumers of coffee, behind the Scandinavian countries, but ahead of the Italians or the French, according to the World Coffee Organization.

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