Coffee Retailers and Social Issues


Coffee is a product consumed by millions of customers globally. Today, it is a part of mass culture, meaning that people have numerous rituals associated with its use (Cailleba & Casteran, 2011). For this reason, the retail business is on the rise nowadays. Thus, statistics show that the retail market of coffee in the United States reached $47.4 billion in 2022 (Hirsch, 2022). Besides, in 2022, the retail coffee market demonstrated stable growth and increased by 2% (Hirsch, 2022). As a result, the number of consumers rises, and their demand also becomes more significant. At the same time, retailers have to use more effective strategies to meet clients’ needs and satisfy their diversified requirements. However, along with the obvious financial benefits, it leads to the increased topicality of social problems that should be addressed to avoid critical harm done to communities. For this reason, the coffee industry and supply chain can be analyzed to outline the major issues regarding people’s quality of life. Thus, coffee retailers play a vital role in the work of the industry, organizing the delivery of the product directly to the final consumer. However, the problem is that they demonstrate low interests levels in resolving social issues associated with the work of the industry. That is why specific measures are needed to address the problem and ensure all people affected by the industry can benefit from its fast evolution and the growing demand for coffee.

Coffee Retail and Social Issues

In such a way, the following problem is viewed as the central thesis: The retail coffee business lacks attention to farmers’ livelihoods and the quality of their lives.

It means that companies involved in the work of the sphere enjoy continuously growing revenues but disregard problems peculiar to the given sphere. For this reason, an important social issue is linked to the quality of people’s lives responsible for coffee production. Thus, following the recent data, many coffee-producing countries have critical problems with poverty, social infrastructure, and farming (Samper & Quinones-Ruiz, 2017). The volatile and competitive coffee market influences families responsible for the production and makes them vulnerable. It means that the sustainability of the given industry critically depends on the sustainability of communities in various parts of the globe and engaged in its functioning (Samper & Quinones-Ruiz, 2017). Moreover, historically, the production of various products was associated with discriminative patterns (Winson, 2017). Products of privileged status cost much and were consumed only by a minority, while their producers lived in poverty. As a result, coffee plantations were a powerful source of income for the dominant class, while enslaved people and other people working there suffered from difficult conditions and poverty (Winson, 2017). Today, this system does not exist; however, farmers or people working in the industry do not have access to infrastructure, health services, and stable income.

Coffee Retailers and Solution

For this reason, regarding the increased topicality of the problem, it is vital to introduce serious measures to address the issue. First, increased social media engagement is vital for the issue. It can be achieved by embracing social media and employing this tool to outline topical problems and ensure the audience knows about them. Regular posting, discussion, and initiation of new social projects might help to attain improvement (Kumar & Aggarwal, 2018). First, it will familiarize people with the current state of the problem and ensure they provide their support. Second, it will provide the platform for speaking about the most critical aspects and planning interventions. Second, big coffee retailers’ involvement is critical as it will ensure that significant costs will be used to invest in social campaigns. For instance, Starbucks supports education incentives to help framers from poor communities and improve the quality of their lives (Starbucks, 2022). Moreover, Nestle also offers specific programs to support farmers responsible for coffee production (Nestle, 2022). These two big brands show how retailers can unite to eliminate the impact of the colonial past on the modern coffee industry and ensure it evolves in sustainable and responsible ways. Coffee farmers should have access to finances acquired by coffee retailers and benefit from the constant development of the industry. Otherwise, the problem will become more complex, and additional investment and efforts will be needed.


Cailleba, P., & Casteran, H. (2011). A quantitative study on the fair trade coffee consumer. Journal Of Applied Business Research (JABR), 25(6). Web.

Starbucks. (2022). Coffee sustainability. Web.

Hirsch, P. (2022). The new not normal. Journal Of Business Strategy, 43(2), 129-132. Web.

Kumar, A., & Aggarwal, R. (2018). Sustainable development through social media tools. Journal Of Management, 5(5), 47-51. Web.

Nestle. (2022). Stand out with brands that stand for more. Web.

Samper, L., & Quiñones-Ruiz, X. (2017). Towards a balanced sustainability vision for the coffee industry. Resources, 6(2), 17. Web.

Winson, A. (2017). Spatial colonization of food environment by pseudo food companies. Precursors of a health crisis. In Winson, A., Sumner, J., & Koc̦, M. (2017). Critical perspectives in food studies (2nd ed., pp. 110-127). Oxford University Press.

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