Caffe Culture 2012

Over the last two days I have attended ‘Caffe Culture 2012’ at Olympia.  The show is a café trade exhibition that provides a platform for businesses to offer a wide range of café related products (equipment, food, drinks, packaging and much more).

Long-term Caffe Culture collaborators ‘The Coffee Boys’ offered a ‘Marketing Masterclass’ from 10am-5pm on the first day and since I have read a couple of their books I decided to attend.  The headline offer was 50 ways to improve marketing; these were split into 25 guiding principles and 25 specific strategies that could be directly applied (in some form) to a business.  It was a good day, Johnnie and Hugo have a wide range of experience each in different areas and their on-going involvement in coffee business consulting means they have up to the second experience and credibility.  In my position as a pre-start business the trick is now to build my own marketing strategy on the principles I have learned and I am sure it will not be long before I see a return on my investment in this training.

Coffee Boy Johnnie Richardson speaking in the Business Theatre

Caffe Culture offers a programme of thought provoking seminars and taste experiences that best of all are free of charge.  Unfortunately I could only catch the free seminars held on day two and my favourite was from Bill Gorman, Executive Chairman of the UK Tea Council, and was entitled ‘Tea – The Future of your Business’.  Bill is an engaging and passionate advocate of Tea and pulled no punches in explaining to the assembled audience just how huge the opportunity is for businesses that have a good tea offer, and how few businesses are taking advantage of this fact.  You can currently view the video on the Caffe Culture website and if you subscribe to the site they will be releasing videos month by month.

In terms of trends I would say two jumped out at me:

Perhaps an indication of the way the industry may be moving, and linked to Bill Gorman’s presentation, there was a real glut of companies offering their tea brand – far more than coffee.

In amongst the juices and sparkling presses you would expect there were several drinks whose marketing angle was pushing their health credentials – coconut based drinks, cannabis drinks (interesting debate on how this fits in with your brand!), green teas with ‘super’ berries and a few others.

'Alibi' by Pretox - claims to be a thirst quenching, sparkling beverage bursting with natural flavour and 18 body cleansing ingredients designed to keep you feeling “one step ahead”.

Overall I enjoyed the visit and have identified some potential suppliers, but I have to say that I was not bowled over by the innovation of most the companies.  I am not sure what exactly I was expecting but if I attend next year I now have a standard against which to measure.

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