The Queen's Awards Magazine 2018

a journey to sustainability Tea and coffee

T HE TEA break is a tradition we have embraced in the UK for around 200 years, after tea overtook gin and ale as the nation’s favourite beverage in the mid-18th century. Tea is deeply rooted in Britain’s history and has become woven into our everyday psyche and wellbeing, being consumed by an estimated 84 per cent of the British population on a daily basis. But let’s not forget about coffee. Not for an instant! Coffee is rumoured to be taking over as the nation’s most popular drink and certainly a glance down any high street reveals a plethora of coffee shops and an explosion in café culture. An estimated 70 million cups of coffee are consumed in the UK every day – with specialist and small-batch roasted coffees becoming more popular. Wherever you look there are statistics about the consumption and popularity of tea versus coffee, but one thing we do know: both are firmly established in our daily routines – whether that’s queuing bleary-eyed for a skinny latte extra hot on the way to work or settling down with a friend for a gossip over a cuppa – and both are here to stay. Opportunities for growth The tea and coffee markets are highly competitive and are, in the main, controlled by a few industry giants, but opportunities in the speciality market are growing for smaller players. According to the Centre for the Promotion of Imports, around 70 per cent of coffee imports are under the control of large companies, the other 30 per cent consists of smaller importers of ‘green’ beans for roasting and processing. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are acknowledged as being one of the highest business accolades and have significant benefit to those who trade internationally. The origins of the UK’s favourite beverages generally sit overseas and the importation of tea and coffee into the UK for our consumption holds a significant position within our international trade activities. The Awards’ category of Sustainable Development is also growing in importance in light of climate change and a need to improve conditions for workers overseas. This is especially poignant for the tea and coffee growers that we so heavily rely on to supply our huge UK demand. As with all international trade, there comes with it a responsibility for the importers to support and contribute to the sustainable trading values of overseas partners. The growing of crops has significant environmental impact and maintaining and harvesting tea leaves and coffee beans is extremely labour- intensive, so encouraging tea and coffee producers to use sustainable methods and look

Smaller tea importers and specialist coffee roasters are driving business in the UK and improving producers’ lives around the world, writes Emma Dahm

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