By Heather Ward
The market research focus at Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is to examine the landscape of specialty coffee businesses and provide insight to our members and the coffee community. The idea is to deliver information that supports business decisions, leading to improved business performance.
One way to deliver insights is through the specialty coffee Roaster/Retailer Financial Benchmarking Study. This tool provides roasters and retailers a way of measuring their company performance against the objective industry standard, a process called benchmarking.
The idea for this study transpired over 20 years ago, when coffee roasters in the U.S. community were requesting shared business information. They were seeking help with writing their business plans, setting sales targets, or just looking for industry norms. They wanted data and evidence of what the industry was doing to support their business decisions, rather than going off gut feelings or assumptions.
The first large study was deployed in 2015 that collected roasters’ financial, sales, and operational data. The main objective was to provide comparative benchmark information in which roasting companies can compare their financial performance relative to other companies. The study resulted in a report that provided industry benchmarks broken out into eight groupings: all roasters, profit leaders (based on highest return on assets), net sales, company type, pounds of coffee roaster per year, number of locations, community size served, primary facility location, and SCAA membership. The results showed the top three greatest threats roasters were facing were increased prices, saturated markets, and the health of the economy.
In partnership with Pacific Bag, we are offering the second iteration of the financial benchmarking survey. The main objective continues to be to provide comparative benchmark information in which roasting companies can compare their financial performance relative to other companies.
The 2017 study includes three significant
improvements from 2015:
- The survey has been moved to an
online platform where data can be entered and results can be accessed. Customized reports can be instantly downloaded based on the user’s needs.
- Two separate surveys will be deployed: one presented in Euro and the second presented in US Dollar.
- The survey is extended to roaster retailers (non-roasters) as a separate segment.
The survey is open for data collection and can be accessed here. The results are expected to be released in August and those who fill out the survey will get free access to the results.
The Roaster/Retailer Benchmarking Study is an extraordinarily useful tool for coffee roasters and retailers of all sizes. The study exists to provide information that supports business decisions, leading to improved business performance. The SCA invites you to make the most of this tool and use it not only to benchmark your business but to contribute to the greater cause of improving the roaster and retailer sector of the coffee industry.
Heather Ward is the Market Research Manager for the Specialty Coffee Association.
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