Coffee research: more expert Italian consumers look for brands and drink coffee with less sugar

Coffee Experience 2010, the largest coffee tasting event in the world, has made its verdict.  And it has done so based on over 8.000 tastings (a 17% increase from 2009) carried out in Verona from the 8th to the 12th of April at the Agrifood Club, a show hosted within Vinitaly.  Thousands of visitors from nearly forty countries came for the tasting and tried 35 Italian coffees through this event organized by the Taster Study Center with the support of the Italian Espresso National Institute and the International Institute of Coffee Tasters.

An interesting trend has emerged from the data that was collected: the percentage of consumers read the coffee shop sign and look for a specific brand has increased (from 3% in 2009 to 4.6% in 2010).  "These are people that refuse the simplification of ‘100% Arabica’," says Luigi Odello, president of the Taster Study Center and professor of Sensory Analysis in Italian and foreign universities.  "The world of clients is beginning to focus on specific sensory qualities and on the brands  People are starting to choose the coffee shop accordingly to the coffee that is served."  In fact, the number of consumers that claim to choose coffee based on their own personal tastes is increasing (from 35.2% in 2009 to 37.4% in 2010).  "These small variations in percentage indicate a trend that could have a strong impact on the market," Odello states.  "We must remember that in Italy about 70 million espresso cups are served every day."

The position on the sugar is also changing.  In fact, the results of this research show that the number of people consuming coffee without sugar is increasing (from 30% in 2009 to 32.4% in 2010) as is the number of people choosing the macchiato (from 16.6% in 2009 to 18% in 2010).  "These two tendencies are compatible but need to be further investigated," Odello remarked.  "Those who prefer bitterness do so because they choose coffees well. On the other hand, those who prefer the macchiato prefer it because they normally drink a lower quality coffee and add milk to improve it?  Or it could be that they are using milk to simply avoid the calories from sugar."

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