Coffee: The Second Most Traded Commodity In The World
Mountains of coffee beans are shipped from country to country every day to satisfy customers' cravings for a delicious morning brew, or simply an afternoon pick-me-up. In fact, coffee beans are probably one of the few food products that are produced, used and loved by almost the entire world. So just how big is the coffee industry? It's bigger than you probably ever imagined!
The popular consumer crop, one of the most highly valued items in international trade, is grown in close to 80 tropical and subtropical climate countries. About 17 billion pounds of green coffee are produced around the world each year. The United States is the largest coffee consumer, drinking close to 3 billion pounds of coffee each year. That means the United States buys about one-fifth of the entire world's coffee crop annually. In 2004, more than 25 million acres across Latin American, African and Asian nations were dedicated solely to growing coffee beans, and that number continues to climb.
The coffee industry in the United States is valued at about $19 billion each year. Gourmet coffees account for about half of that industry value. Food enthusiasts are trying to increase that value even more by promoting a new coffee-industry trend: pairing specific coffee blends with food to enhance the flavor of both items, much the same way as particular wines are matched with particular foods. While the industry value itself is massive, a $3 latte typically only provides the original farmer with an income of one penny.
The Coffee Industry Plays a Big Role In Many Developing Economies
When the world's coffee industry was hit in 2001 to 2003, Americans heard very little about the crisis. However, coffee crop prices fell to their lowest level ever, destroying national economies and ruining millions of small-scale farmers' livelihoods. The coffee industry, though only an unnecessary pleasure product for most, has become so ingrained in international farming and trade that millions of people worldwide are dependent on Americans' cravings for a good brew. About 20 million people are estimated to work in the coffee industry worldwide.
Likewise, there are an astounding number of coffee shops throughout the world. Out of close to 20,000 stores, Starbucks owns more than three-fourths of the retail coffee world, with 16,680 stores. Another newer coffee-crop trend driving up the international trade value and adding jobs to the economy is an extension of the world's "green" or environment-friendly movement. New buzzwords for coffee sales include organic, shade-grown, sustainable and fair-trade certified. The organic coffee market has now become a billion-dollar industry in itself, according to the Organic Trade Association, due to consumers’ increasing desire to minimize their global footprint.
Coffee Is The Most Popular Beverage In The World
According to the Coffee Research Organization and the National Small Business Development Support Center Clearinghouse, more than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day, making it the most popular beverage in the world. Statistics estimate that Americans consume 400 million of those cups of coffee daily, which equals about four-and-a-half thousand cups of coffee each second. The next time you take a swig of the world’s favorite drink, give yourself a pat on the back for funding the continuation of millions of jobs around the world. Cheers!