How to Drive Sustainable Coffee Sales

From roasters, farmers and researchers to baristas, government leaders and impact investors, coffee enthusiasts from around the world gathered to discuss all things coffee at the Let’s Talk Coffee® Conference on September 20–23 in Cartagena, Colombia. For the last 15 years, Let’s Talk Coffee® has been a premier gathering at origin for global stakeholders from throughout the entire coffee value chain.

During the conference, Helen Griffith, VP of marketing at S&D Coffee & Tea, presented an in-depth look at what consumers think about when it comes to purchasing sustainable coffee. The presentation explored types of consumers—personas and generations—as well as what matters most to them when it comes to the story behind their coffee. Meanwhile, Olga L Cuellar G, the sustainable strategy leader at S&D Coffee & Tea, moderated a panel of Pioneers in Coffee, all of which were influential women, including Agnieszka Rojewska, World Barista Champion 2018; Sandra Palacios, Cooagronevada; and Christine Condo, Sustainable Harvest. Sustainable coffee is a key part of S&D Coffee and Tea, which was clearly evident as both Helen and Olga demonstrated their passion for sustainability and its impact on the supply chain.

Helen’s presentation highlighted recent S&D research, which revealed the consumer personas that care most about the coffee they drink—the Quality Essentialist and the Frequent Sophisticate. These two groups of coffee drinkers are not only willing to pay more, but they’re also willing to go out of their way for a better-quality cup of coffee with a good story behind it which, it turns out, can also elevate the overall perception of the establishment where it’s sold. These consumers feel good about their purchase because they believe it helps support the farmers and the community where the coffee is sourced.

Similarly, millennials and Gen Z care about the story behind the products they purchase. They are more socially conscious than the generations before them and seek out products that are good for them and the planet. If a venue or brand offers sustainable products—and more importantly, communicates about those products—the venue will experience a halo effect from the consumer’s experience.

With 86% of millennials willing to pay more for a cup of sustainably produced coffee and 46% thinking more positively about a venue that offers sustainable coffee,¹ operators need to consider the significant benefits and long-term potential of serving an authentic story with their sustainable coffee offerings.

When communicating the story behind your sustainable coffee offerings, use impactful claims and engaging visuals and keep it simple. The most meaningful terms relate to responsible sourcing—messages around better, sustainable farming practices resonate strongly with consumers. There is a common affinity for messaging around “environmentally friendly,” “better farming practices” and “treating workers fairly.”

S&D offers you the opportunity to meet your customer demand for sustainable coffee with Raíz Sustainability®, S&D’s sustainable sourcing platform. As the largest custom coffee roaster in the country, S&D is committed to creating a sustainable future for the industry. Raíz Sustainability® addresses social, environmental and economic industry issues including fair labor practices, soil health, productivity and cost management.

The bottom line is that consumers are looking for a better beverage experience. Knowing that coffee “with a story” has the ability to drive sales as well as traffic, S&D can help operators capture the loyalty of these socially conscious coffee drinkers. S&D works closely with operators to create a sustainable coffee program with a strong story behind it. They even help bring the story to life with a strategic marketing plan.

Is your coffee program telling the right story? Visit or contact S&D Coffee & Tea at 800.933.2210 to learn more about how S&D can help you bring your coffee story to life.

¹Datassential, proprietary study for S&D Coffee and Tea

About S&D Coffee & Tea
S&D Coffee & Tea, a subsidiary of Cott Corporation, is the largest coffee and tea manufacturer an supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America. S&D is also a leading producer of liquid extracts. In continuous operation since 1927, the company serves over 110,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery. For more information about S&D Coffee & Tea, go to

Media Contact:
Jessica Butera
The Food Group

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Jarrod Langhans
Sr. Director of Investor Relations and Corporate FP&A
Cott Corporation
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Tampa, FL 33634