Spilling the beans in north India

For the last 125 years, people down south in the country have consumed coffee in the form of a staple beverage, whereas in the northern region, tea has always been preferred.
coffee time

Due to this, we have often associated the northern region as a region of non-traditional coffee drinkers, but the induction of café-chain formats across India has changed that notion.

Varied tastes

Coffee has been regarded as a drink brought to India from the West by people travelling abroad, who are increasingly exploring varied forms of the beverage. Tapping into this obvious growth, the government has felt the need to make coffee a preferred beverage in all parts of the country. The India International Coffee Festival (IICF) is one such initiative, which aims to enhance the models of the domestic coffee players as well as the back-end supports for the coffee industry in the country. This flagship event has garnered interest from all corners, which vindicated the strategy behind organising such conferences. Anil Bhandari, President, India Coffee Trust, feels that the show being organised in Delhi is a sign of things to come in the future. “With so many coffee chains visible across the country, we felt this is the right time for the conference to move out of Bangalore, where it had been happening till now, to the capital,” he adds.

Outlook

The overall coffee scenario in the country looks quite positive. However, considering that India is the sixth largest producer of coffee covering around two per cent of world’s coffee area, there is still a long way to go before the numbers look staggering to say the least. Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. “With 16 countries and 500 delegates participating in this conference, we believe our domestic coffee players will get the know-how from their international counterparts,” says Jawaid Akhtar, Chairman, Coffee Board. At present, there are over 3,000 branded coffee outlets in the country, which is still nowhere near to the figures visible in the international markets. The likes of Café Coffee Day, Barista, Lavazza, Costa Coffee and Gloria Jeans are some of the leading players in the market, but what really stands out in the segment is the need for an organised approach, which will minimise the fragmentation that is creeping in. “Even though we have numerous outlets in the country, there is a definite discrepancy when it comes to the positioning of these outlets,” says Venu Madhav, Chief Operating Officer, Café Coffee Day.

Looking ahead

Giving his approval to the event, Rahul Khullar, Secretary of Commerce, says, “The government is pleased to welcome the initiative in Delhi for the first time and pleased with the initiative taken by the private sector.” India has all the necessary ingredients to be a world leader in the coffee sector, but it needs to make sure that conferences of this magnitude are organised on a regular basis as they provide an opportunity to the domestic players to interact with the intentional set-ups and understand their latest technologies and inputs.

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