Coca-Cola HBC Hungary Broadens Portfolio With Caffè Vergnano

Drinks

Every second Hungarian starts the morning with an espresso according to a joint survey of 2,500 respondents by Coca-Cola HBC Hungary and Gkid. The unbroken popularity of coffee is one of the reasons why Coca-Cola HBC Hungary has broadened its portfolio with a second coffee brand, Caffè Vergnano, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal. 

The company aims to give Caffè Vergnano, as a new entrant to the super-premium market, a 0.5% share of the entire Hungarian coffee market by the end of 2023, which means an increase of 200% in sales volume and 220% in sales revenue.

At the beginning of this year, Coca-Cola HBC Hungary was one of the first within the 29-member counting Coca-Cola HBC Group that started the exclusive distribution of Caffè Vergnano premium Italian coffee products, after the mother company acquired a 30% stake in the brand owner Casa del Caffè Vergnano back in October 2021.

"Coffee is a key element of our strategy to become a total beverage company and to be able to offer the right product to our customers at every time of the day for each consumption occasion that arises. With the brands currently available in 200 domestic hospitability units, our goal is to attract an additional 300 HoReCa customers by the end of 2023," said Gábor Árok, coffee business manager at Coca-Cola HBC Hungary, at the press conference for the grand opening of Accademia Vergnano Budapest.

"In addition to out-of-home sales, we also put emphasis on at-home consumption, because as our joint research with Gkid showed, most people drink coffee in the morning in their homes: as soon as they open their eyes, 84% of consumers start the day with an energizing java. Of course, we also enjoy drinking coffee for the rest of the day: before-lunch-time (43%) and after-lunch (44%) coffees are popular as well, however people tend to drink a cup even during the afternoon (37%)," he added.

The current economic situation is, of course, posing challenges to the coffee sector. Although, according to 2022 Nielsen data from Hungar,y people consume less of a given product or take a cheaper brand off the shelves in many areas, however, this is not the case with coffee. As latest data shows coffee is consumed in the same quantity, and the same brand is still chosen by consumers as before. The annual consumption of coffee in Hungary is currently estimated at about 19,000 tons.

Caffè Vergnano is a premium Italian coffee with some 140 years of history. The family business – which has been paving the way for the brand for the fourth generation now – owns the oldest coffee roasting plant in Italy where coffee beans are roasted and blended using traditional methods.

"Tradition is part of Italian coffee culture; centuries-old production methods, well-established recipes and a full-bodied taste experience attract many consumers, for whom the love of history and heritage is at least as important as the coffee itself," said Carolina Vergnano, CEO of Casa del Caffè Vergnano, at the grand opening of the Accademia Vergnano Budapest training center. "Our blends are the results of many years of experience: since the quality of coffee beans can change from year to year, our professional knowledge and excellence are necessary to maintain the authentic taste characteristics of Caffè Vergnano in a uniform and harmonious way."

The company behind Caffè Vergnano is committed to sustainable operation, paying special attention to the management of packaging waste. The brand’s coffee capsule products come in biodegradable, compostable packaging, while the packaging of Caffè Vergnano 1882 coffees sold in HoReCa units is 100% recyclable and made from 100% recycled PET material. They also put emphasis on the importance of women working in the coffee industry. "Women in Coffee" is the company’s initiative aiming to support the livelihood of small women-owned coffee businesses.

Caffè Vergnano also focuses on the transfer of tradition and professional knowledge, which is why its training centers have been established. With the Accademia Vergnano network of training centers, the company strives to make the secrets and practices of quality coffee making as widely known as possible to representatives of the hospitality sector and those interested in coffee.

The first Accademia Vergnano was established in Chieri, the hometown of the Vergnano family, commemorating the history of the company, which was established in 1882. The design of the educational center was inspired by the family's home, emphasizing the family togetherness which is so important to Italians, the loving atmosphere, and the inspiring effect of co-creation. The Accademia Vergnano Budapest, which is officially opened now, was born with an investment of HUF 50 million and will host a total of 300 professional trainings for customers and baristas until the end of next year.

Despite the challenges and lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Casa del Caffé Vergnano closed 2021 with a total turnover of EUR 92 million, which was close to the pre-COVID turnover back in 2019. The company now plays a decisive role in the Italian coffee market and has a presence in 90 countries.

"Our common goal with the Casa del Caffè Vergnano team is to work together to increase brand awareness and availability in the countries where Coca-Cola HBC is present in order to reach those consumers who fall for premium quality Italian coffee. Our aim with the Caffè Vergnano brand, as a new entrant to the super-premium coffee market, is to earn a 0.5% market share by the end of 2023. This represents a 200% increase in sales volume and 220% in sales revenue. Coca-Cola HBC supports the Casa del Caffè Vergnano team in this work with extensive network of customers, decades of sales experience and unmatched excellence," said Árok at the event.

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