How important are sustainability labels in the coffee business?
Kaltenegger: For us, two things are crucial: the quality of the raw material and the question of whether it was produced and traded under fair conditions. That's what we and our customers value. Therefore, the different standards and labels are an important guide for our customers.
How does this affect the offer of Cafe + Co?
Kaltenegger: We have ten certified products: milk powder, three cocoa and six coffees, which are certified by Bio, Fairtrade, Utz and Rainforest Alliance. Their share, however, can be expanded to well under ten percent. Our goal is to break the ten-percent threshold in a year or two, but the decision is made by the customer. But what we see is a continuous demand, not a boom. I assume that there is a great deal of basic trust among customers that the production and trading of agricultural commodities such as coffee or cocoa has now reached a standard and that there are no major problems.
Does that mean something good for the producers?
Kaltenegger: What we see in Uganda, where our coffee blend "Finest African" comes from and where we want to get even stronger: The best yields are still being achieved by the farmers, who offer good quality, regardless of whether they are Fairtrade certified or not. Quality is still what best secures farmers' incomes. That is also our suggestion: to get a very good bean.
Does the higher price perhaps push the demand for certified coffee?
Kaltenegger: It is an illusion to believe that a product is more expensive just because it is certified. At the end of the day, it's the quality that costs more.
Many thanks for the interview!