Fair Trade Java To Get Storefronts

May 13, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The British charity organization, Oxfam, and the UK coffee roaster, Matthew Algie, announced plans yesterday to launch a chain of fair trade coffee shops called Progreso (Check
out www.progreso.org.uk).

The parties plan to open three coffee shops by the end of this year and to have 20 operating in the UK in the next three years.

According to a release from Oxfam, the aim of this venture is “to showcase the quality of fairly traded coffees and pioneer a new style of doing business that closes the gap
between coffee growers in the developing world and coffee lovers on the high street.”

The Progreso concept will seek to build on the growing popularity of fair trade coffee in the UK.

According to Oxfam’s release, “Fair trade coffee is the fastest growing sector of the UK coffee market. In 2003, consumers purchased 2083 tons of fair trade coffee from shops
and supermarkets — an increase of 42 percent from 2002. Coffee shops sold 385 tons of fair trade coffee during the same period — an annual increase of 67 percent.”

Wyndham James, managing director of Progreso, is quick to point out that this is not simply a charity exercise. “This is a bona fide commercial venture,” he said. “We will be
launching smart, contemporary outlets that provide consumers with fantastic coffee and help growers through ready-made retail outlets. Progreso will have a strong brand identity
and its high quality coffee will be the cornerstone of its offering.”

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on the Progreso project in the UK? Would the same concept be commercially
viable in the US?

Our limited taste experience with free trade coffee (so far always organic) has been very positive. The concept certainly has a marketable point of differentiation
to Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and others. Okay, we’ve talked ourselves into it. We’ll start working on a business plan so we can secure investments.

George Anderson – Moderator

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