Who Moves The Coffee Markets? Meet The World’s Largest Green Coffee Traders.
June 6, 2018
Who are the biggest players in the coffee trading markets? Just in America, people drink about 400 milion coffee cups a day. Who handles the green coffee beans farming, production, logistics, roasting and distribution? Meet the largest green coffee traders.
The World’s Largest Green Coffee Traders.
The world’s leading coffee trading firm is Neumann Kaffee Gruppe.
In 1934, Hanns R. Neumann, a coffee broker founded the Hamburg-based corporation.
Neumann controls about 10% of the total coffee demand, with a vast international structure with about 50 subsidiaries in 27 countries.
NKG is vertically integrated, including 3 large estates totalling about 7500 ha.
The company owns production facilities, including 27 dry mills and 7 wet mills.
Overall, Neumann is involved in:
- Farming and farm management
- Export including quality milling and grading
- Import and trade of industrial volumes, Specialties and Instant Coffees
- Services of semi-finished products, logistics and storage
- Risk Management and Finance
Ecom is a Switzerland-based trader founded as a cotton importer in 1849 near Barcelona by Jose Esteve with the mission of supplying the booming Spanish textile factories.
Ecom entered coffee in 1935 with its first coffee office in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Even today, the company’s main focus is to stay close to the farmers.
Ramon Esteve, 6th generation, is still involved in the company directive board.
In 2013, Ecom acquired the commodity trading arm of Armajaro Trading, a London based firm founded by Anthony Ward.
As of today, Ecom is one of the top 3 coffee trading firms in the coffee trading industry.
Olam is one of the top coffee traders worldwide, with about $5 billion US in yearly sales.
The company started operating in 1989, since then it has accumulated a strong position in a few markets including in edible nuts, softs, and spices.
Olam’s global coffee growth strategy includes setting up new plantations in Laos, Zambia, Tanzania, and Brazil.
Volcafe operates as the coffee trading arm of ED&F Man, one of the largest commodity trading firms.
Volcafe has been trading coffee since 1851, and prides itself of being capable of handling both single-origin small premium coffee, all the way to mass-market coffee blends.
The company is vertically integrated and sources from over 15 different countries through its coffee trading hubs.
The company operates from its coffee trading centers in Geneva (Switzerland), Santos (Brazil), Wilton (US), Nairobi (Kenya) and Singapore.
LDC operates actively in the coffee business in origins such as Dalat and Lamdong (Vietnam), Villanueva (Honduras), and Uganda in East Africa.
Recently, the company inaugurated a coffee mill and warehouse in Kampala, Uganda. In 2018, new expansion will take place Brazil with the construction of a new warehouse in Matipo.
In Central America, LDC is expanding its capacity its coffee mill in Villanueva, Honduras.
In Asia, LDC has expanded its operations in Indonesia with additional warehouses near Surabaya, as well as new Arabica washing facilities in Dalat, Vietnam.
In South America, the company recently invested heavily in its new warehouse in Matipo, Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Also in Brazil, LDC operates another warehouse location in Nova Venecia, in Espirito Santo State. This storage facility aims at handling the flow of high quality coffee from the upcoming high-altitute region.
LDC is using coffee cherry husks as biofuel in one of its mills in Lamdong, Vietnam.
In North America, LDC markets speciality coffees through its brand Zephyr.
Sucafina is a top 5 coffee trader founded in 1977. Its origins trace back to orange trading from the Palestinean port of Jaffa.
The main offices are located in Geneva, Switzerland.
The business developed towards more sophisticated trading in SU (Sugar), CA (coffee), and FINA (financials).
Sucafina also runs 32CUP, a specialty green coffee distributor based in Antwerpen, Belgium and Beyers, a private-label roaster based in Belgium.
Mercon is a green coffee trading specialist in the business for over 50 years.
The company headquarters are located in the Netherlands, and the company
Mercon runs a high-quality speciality coffee division called Premium Estates, which operates single origin coffees from Honduras, Guatemala. Nicaragua, and Vietnam.
The company additionally operates import offices from Miami, Barcelona, and Ho Chi Minh City.
ADM’s presence in the coffee market is limited as a market-maker / broker in options and futures.
The company also provides financing options for commercial customers that require margin to operate.
The World’s Largest Green Coffee Buyers & Producers
For the large final industrial buyer of coffee, the main challenge is to secure a regular supply of beans.
Their role in the supply chain is usually the roasting and packaging of coffee for retail market distribution.
On this note, the most important aspect then, is factory runtime optimization. Hence the high focus on regular and reliable supply availability.
Nestlé SA (Switzerland)
Nestle is one of the world’s leading coffee companies with about +20% of the total retail market.
It controls some of the best known brands of coffee including premium brands such as Nespresso.
In 2017, Nescafe bought Blue Bottle Coffee, a US specialty coffee brand, for $425 US million
In 2018, Nestle agreed to pay Starbucks $7.15 billion US in exchange to gain rights to exclusively retail coffee and tea under the Starbucks brand.
Kraft Heinz (USA)
One of the largest roasters and distributors, the company owns brands such as Maxwell House, Gevalia Kaffe, General Foods International, Baker’s, Cafe Collection, Yuban, Sanka, Tassimo.
Mondelez is one of the world’s strongest coffee distributors.
Mondelez, a Swiss-based company, formerly part of the Kraft Foods brands umbrella is #1 or #2 player in 20 markets.
In 2015 the company divested most of its coffee business to focus on core snack businesses. The newly created joint venture is called Jacobs Douwe Egberts.
The company controls some of the world’s most popular coffee brands including Jacobs, Kenco, Carte Noire, Tassimo, Saimaza, Kaffee Hag, Jaques Vabre, Gevalia, Splendid, Maxwell House, or Grand Mere.
Jacobs Douwe Egberts (Netherlands)
In 2015, Mondelez and D.E. Master Blenders announced the creation of a joint venture that fully combined their coffee business.
The new company is called Jacobs Douwe Egberts, based in Netherlands, with over 5 billion EUR revenue from coffee-related sales.
The reasoning behind this consolidation is to unite forces against Nestle.
Keurig Green Mountain
J.M. Smucker (USA)
Sara Lee (USA/Netherlands)
Starbucks is one of the world’s most famous coffee firms.
As one of the truly international coffee franchises, the company focuses on darker roasks of Arabica-only beans.
In 2018 it was announced that Starbucks and Nestle reached an agreement regarding the use of the Starbucks brand in the sales of coffee and tea.
Nestle will from now onwards be able to distribute roasted beans under Starbucks branding.
Segafredo Zanetti (Italy)
Aldi is a German-based discount supermarket operating from in Europe.
Through its branded coffee the company distributes a small percentage of the world’s total coffee consumption.
What Are The World’s Strongest Coffee Brands?
By retail value, the best-selling brands are: Nescafe, Keurig, Nespresso, Jacobs, Folgers, Lavazza, Tchibo, Carte Noire, Starbucks, and Maxwell House.
Large Commodity Traders That Do Not Trade Green Coffee
Glencore, Mercuria, Wilmar, Noble Group, Cargill, ADM, Bunge – do not participate in the physical green coffee trading markets.
While some were involved in the trading of green coffee at some point, the players have now consolidated into the main list above.
Final Notes: Coffee Trading
The coffee trading market is a complex arena consisting of huge corporations and smaller producers, all spread throughout the globe.
While most production takes place in rugged, high-attitude, remote areas, most trading firms sit in comfy chairs in Switzerland or Singapore.
What is your favorite coffee retailer / brand? Let us know in the comments! 🙂