INTRODUCTION World coffee prices, which have risen up to ten times heir price of only a few years ago, have led to repercussions in coffee markets across the globe.
GV EXT Supermarket advertising coffee for sale, London, U.K.
SV INT Woman looking at coffee on sale
CUs Various brands of coffee on display and prices (2 shots)
CU Woman selecting box of Brazilian coffee from shelf
SV & CU INT Factory -- barley being roasted in coffee roasting machine
CU Soya beans being poured into machine
SV Mixture being bagged by machine and checked by quality control inspector
CU Mixture in bulk being poured into sack
SV Individual bags of mixture coming off production line
SCU Taster making comparison test with pure coffee and pronouncing verdict
TRANSCRIPT SEQ. 10: TASTER: "It's okay; it's up to standard; a good comparison."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION World coffee prices, which have risen up to ten times heir price of only a few years ago, have led to repercussions in coffee markets across the globe. Coffee producers like Brazil are stockpiling and taxing the raw product to take advantage of the boom in market prices, while consumers in the United States have been campaigning for a general boycott on coffee-drinking and a switch to tea. In Britain, one old-established and reputable coffee factory is planning to market an artificial mixture at about a quarter of the price of the real thing.
SYNOPSIS: The housewife in Britain is paying almost exactly ten times as much as she was three years ago. On the wholesale market, it's around seven times as expensive as eighteen months ago.
The dramatic rise in coffee prices everywhere date back to July 1975, when a freak frost wiped out two-thirds of Brazil's crop. This coincided with a shortage of supplies from Angola because of the civil war there. In Uganda, the political and economic situation caused production to drop dramatically, while an outbreak of rust disease hit the Nicaraguan crop.
In Britain, a London factory has now turned its coffee-roasting machines over to an artificial mixture aimed mainly as a substitute for instant coffee. Where real beans were once poured in, it's now a mixture of barley, chicory, figs, soya, and a synthetic coffee flavouring to help it along. It's already been tested by the public, and the company now plans to release it on general sale at a third of the price of the real thing.
There have always been coffee substitutes to cater for a minority market. This is mainly among health food enthusiasts who don't like the caffeine in real coffee -- a drug which can reputedly cause some damage to the human body over a long period of time. But the new substitute is being aimed at the general market -- coffee drinkers forced to seek an alternative beverage for simple cash reasons, not for health considerations. The taste? According to a senior company taster, it's realistic.