Look Towards A New Future

Jun 4, 2012

Drinks Market - Hot Drinks Market in Spain

The spectre of economic recession continues to stalk the Spanish landscape
Spain’s severe economic crisis remained the principal factor exerting a negative influence over the performance of hot drinks during 2011. Spain’s GDP growth in 2011 was even lower than previously anticipated, struggling to 0.5% according to INE (National Statistics Institute), while the unemployment rate remained above 21% of the eligible population. A climate of economic uncertainty continues to prevail in Spain, and the situation deteriorated during 2011 as of Spain’s ongoing sovereign debt crisis occupied central position on the political agenda. The previous Spanish government carried out strong adjustment measures throughout 2011 in a bid to effect positive changes in the country’s economic scenario under severe pressure from the European Commission.

Unit prices continue to increase in hot drinks as the cost of raw material peaks
During 2011, Spanish consumers were served a timely reminder of how the unit prices of products such as coffee and chocolate-based flavoured powder drinks are vulnerable to strong increases. The simple fact remains that the price of the raw materials used in the production of coffee and chocolate-based flavoured powder drinks such as coffee beans and cacao beans peaked at global level in 2011 as the commodity price of coffee beans reached the highest levels in 34 years, while the price of cacao beans reached an all-time high. Even though it is generally assumed that the unfavourable coffee and cocoa harvests in certain countries were primarily responsible for the restricted availability of coffee and cacao beans during 2011, the world’s leading hot drinks companies have conceded that the outrageous rise in the unit prices of hot drinks is at least partially attributable to the speculative activities of commodity traders.

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Health and wellness becomes a more important demand factor in hot drinks
During the review period, the hot drinks categories which recorded the fastest growth rates were also those which were marketed mainly by reference to their health benefits. This was most evident in tea, in which green tea, rooibos tea and white tea—all of which offer consumers high levels of antioxidants and very healthy properties—became more popular. In the case of coffee, decaffeinated coffee and innovative products such as Nescafé Green Blend, a product high in antioxidants, experienced higher demand.

The leading hot drinks companies fight Nespresso for dominance in coffee pods
Fresh ground coffee pods continued to experience outstanding growth in Spain again during 2011. According to industry sources, 15% of all Spanish households now have a coffee pod machine. Even though Nestlé remains the leading player in fresh ground coffee pods with its Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee pods brands, 2011 saw new players entering fresh ground coffee pods and companies such as Sara Lee Southern Europe launched coffee pods which are compatible with Nespresso machines. While the leading manufacturers continued to work hard to diversify their product portfolios during 2011, adding pod products in chocolate-based flavoured powder drinks and tea, some of Spain’s smaller coffee companies are working towards developing coffee pod systems for on-trade channels, offices and other institutional customers.

Spain’s leading hot drinks companies embrace fair trade and sustainability policies
In response to the growing awareness of Spanish consumers with regards to fair trade and sustainability, the leading multinational companies within hot drinks in Spain are releasing more products which comply with the relevant international certifications in this regard in addition to conceiving of new ways to act more responsibly both in terms of minimising the environmental impact of their products and commercial activities and the conferring more benefits on the societies which are involved in the agricultural production and manufacturing processes which are involved in the production of hot drinks. The key companies in this sense are Kraft Foods, Sara Lee and Nestlé España.