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4 reasons to avoid buying cheap coffee supplies

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Dean Cartwright

15th Oct 2022

4 minutes for reading

We understand that cafes, restaurants and coffee shops are facing a tough winter. Energy prices are currently sky high and customer numbers are likely to remain low as people look to save their pennies. Coffee suppliers have also been affected by the prevailing market conditions and many have reluctantly increased their prices.

As such, we are expecting a wave of new, opportunist, coffee suppliers to flood the market, hoping to undercut established companies and woo pressurised business owners into giving them business.

Before you get that sales call, read this article and consider these four powerful reasons why buying cheap is almost always a false economy, especially when it comes to coffee.

4 reasons to avoid buying cheap coffee supplies

1. Quality counts with serious coffee drinkers

For many people, going out for a cup of coffee is seen as a treat. When times are hard, they are more likely to cut down on the frequency of their outings than on the quality of their drink. Many will only drink coffee made from SCA-graded coffee beans because they appreciate the superior flavour. While it’s true that some customers may not notice a drop in the quality of your product, those who spend the most definitely will. When the economy recovers, you could find that they have taken their custom elsewhere.

If the quality of your coffee reduces too much, you could even end up with a lot of unused stock as demand collapses. Then you will have to restock with higher quality coffee and possibly spend more on marketing campaigns to entice people back. It is often the case that those who buy cheap buy twice!

2. Cheap coffee suppliers are unreliable

Cut price coffee suppliers keep their prices low by sourcing dirt cheap product, providing a minimal level of service and raking in as much cash as they can while the going is good. As soon as the market starts to recover, they will quickly be outpaced by conscientious suppliers at which time they will bank their winnings and close their operations, often without warning. That can leave business owners stranded waiting for stock that will never arrive.

3. Cheap coffee harms producers

The only way cheap coffee suppliers can make a profit is by paying rock bottom prices for product. They will avoid SCA-graded and Fair Trade Certified coffee beans and target those farmers who are least protected from exploitation. Some coffee farmers are among the worst treated workers on the planet. A lot of work has been done to raise wages and working standards, and buying low quality product at rock bottom prices only undermines those efforts. Even if coffee shop owners aren’t that concerned about unethical coffee, their most valuable customers almost certainly will be!

4. Cheap coffee ruins the planet

Sustainability is another area which has seen a lot of improvement in recent years. Coffee farmers have been supported to grow crops in harmony with their environment, while producers have embraced eco friendly practices such as carbon offsetting and recyclable packaging. Coffee suppliers that prioritise profit over the planet will avoid eco-conscious producers and source product based on price alone. This is a race to the bottom which threatens the entire coffee industry.

Ultimately, your customers will hold you to account. Coffee is a luxury product and the most generous spenders are those that respect quality, sustainability and humanity over price. They may be cutting back on their consumption to save money, but they will never drop their standards by drinking poor quality, environmentally damaging or unethical coffee. Every business is experiencing tough times at the moment but sacrificing quality for a short-term gain will only harm you in the long run.

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