UK Coffee Consumption 1997-2010

While nosing around some ICO data I came across the UK Consumption stats.  I was curious about how population growth affects things, and how much it factors into growth in total consumption.

Here is the raw data with columns for what the ICO defines as “Ground” coffee, which I presume to mean all fresh coffee, as well as “Soluble” and a combined total of the two.  The units of consumption are thousands of 60kg bags.

Year      Ground   Soluble   Total 
1997 387 2054 2441
1998 414 2173 2587
1999 371 1905 2276
2000 392 1950 2342
2001 386 1829 2215
2002 412 1849 2261
2003 428 1808 2236
2004 493 1966 2459
2005 546 2134 2680
2006 654 2404 3058
2007 643 2180 2823
2008 727 2341 3068
2009 783 2437 3220
2010 776 2347 3123


Definitely trending up in ground coffee at a higher rate than in soluble, but both growing pretty steadily.  So I graphed out the per capita consumption, using population figures for each year to compensate for population growth. 1

Click for bigger

What is interesting to me about this is the following:

– Consumption in ground coffee didn’t really increase dramatically until 2004, with big jumps in 2006 and 2008.  To put some perspective on the size of the jump in imports, the difference in 2007 to 2008 is 84,000 bags of coffee – over 5 million kg.

– 2008 was also a massive jump in soluble coffee.  I just don’t have the data to explain why the UK’s total consumption spiked at that point.  This seems a good point to highlight that this data is the ICO’s consumption data, not import quantities.  However, import data also spikes a lot here implying that there was perhaps some stocking up to take advantage of the C-market price fluctuations.

– The UK’s per capita consumption is still pretty poor at approximately 3kg.  We’re a long way behind the double digit Scandinavians.

– I’d love to see some sort of quality measure for this period of time for the coffee imported.  People talk about the decline in quality resulting in a decline in consumption in the US, as price competition drove quality down in the second half of the 20th century.  I’d love to know if this is the opposite.  I had a quick look at historical import data but didn’t find anything useful.

– I’d love to see historical data on cafe openings to compare to this.  Interestingly the ICO has out-of-home consumption in the UK accounting for about 30% of consumption, and holding pretty steady there (within 1% variation).  It might amuse people to know that the out of home consumption average for Italy over the same period was lower at 28%.

I’ll finish with an interesting quote that caught my eye from the report – make of it what you will…

Average annual imports by the United Kingdom during the period 1997 to 2010 totalled 3.4 million bags coming mainly from exports by Vietnam (14%), Brazil (11.7%), Colombia (9.4%) and Indonesia (6.1%) as well as from other importing countries through their re‐exports, namely Germany (13.6%), Netherlands (7.6%), Spain (4.1%), Ireland (2.4%), France (2.3%) and Italy (2.1%). In other words, among the ten leading countries supplying coffee to the United Kingdom, re‐exports from other importing countries accounted for 32.2% of the total compared with 41.2% from exporting countries.

  1. I do love Wolfram Alpha….  ↩︎

2 Comments UK Coffee Consumption 1997-2010

  1. Pat D

    Intriguing data, it would be interesting to overlay what you have done with economic figures, possibly GDP per capita (I’m no economist!) to see if there is any correlation. 

  2. Alla

    Does anyone know where to take a reputable course how to make a perfect cappuccino in London? Thank you,

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