Demand for energy-saving roasters grows as energy crisis deepens

Increased consumer awareness regarding sustainability combined with rising energy costs and global conflicts and economic challenges are fuelling the demand for more energy-saving and efficient roasting machines. By Eugene Gerten.

The global demand for energy-efficient and energy-saving coffee machines is steadily growing, amid the ever-rising gas and energy prices and high inflation in many Western markets these days.

The ongoing military conflict between Russia and Ukraine and, associated with this, the almost complete suspension of gas supplies from Russia to the EU, has put a significant pressure on the industry, forcing most of its major players to consider updating their ranges by rolling out new more energy-efficient, sustainable roasting machines.

In accordance with the recent report by the global analyst agency Mordor Intelligence, the global coffee roaster market will grow by 6.5 per cent annually between 2022 and 2027. In the meantime, the Allied Market Research’s latest report, “Coffee Roaster Market by Type” finds that the global coffee roaster industry generated USD $448.90 million in 2021, and is expected to reach $741.90 million by 2031, witnessing a CAGR of 5.2 per cent from 2021 to 2031.

Most analysts expect energy-efficient and energy-saving roasters will show the highest growth rates of the entire market, which just started to recover from the pandemic and its consequences.

In general, per Mordor Intelligence, the pandemic has reduced coffee sales by around 50 per cent in Europe and around 25 per cent in the US, having a negative effect on coffee roaster suppliers, which saw their sales decline significantly in 2021 and 2022. Additionally, lockdown and social distancing measures have led to a reduction in coffee consumption. The biggest decline being observed in the HORECA segment, where the overall sales of roasters of all types fell by up to 80 per cent during the pandemic.

The situation has started to improve this year when roasters’ sales in many key markets picked up. However, the beginning of an energy crisis in the EU and the US has put an end to the efforts of the market and producers for more active growth. Moreover, the ever-rising energy prices have resulted in a shift of consumer preferences towards machinery which is characterised by reduced energy consumption and higher efficiency being part of a global demand for energy-saving at present.

Many analysts expect the market of energy-saving/sustainable coffee roasters and machinery will continue to grow this year and in 2023. More and more coffeehouses will also be giving a preference to more energy-efficient coffee machines.

In addition to energy savings, the driving force for the market will be maintaining high consumer demand for the fresh and aromatic coffee that the roasting process provides and regular introduction of new coffee aroma blends by global brands. Furthermore, new market trends are emerging as well as the ongoing shift of consumer preferences in the global roasters market.

Global challenges have increased the focus on more efficient and sustainable roasting machines. Image: Scolari Engineering

Fabio Clivio, project director of Scolari Engineering, a leading manufacturer of roasting machines, said the move to more energy efficient/saving/reducing/sustainable packaging and processing machinery really began after the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), while the demand really ‘kicked into high gear’ after the 48th G7 summit from 26-28 June 2022 in Schloss Elmau, Germany.

“With the high energy costs, it is mandatory to increase the efficiency of the roasting process,” said Clivio. “For Europe, efficiency is a matter of survival now. In the USA, there is a request to make the roasting process more sustainable and to add net technology to reduce the gas consumption.”

According to Clivio, Scolari is in line with the current market trends, regularly adjusting its portfolio in accordance with market demands. That means regular introduction of special features and various improvements in the existing range of the company. “All new equipment is equipped with a green bean preheater (GBPH), while existing roasters can be retrofitted with GBPH,” he said. “Several improvements have also been developed to increase efficiency of the gas burner and to combine with sustainable electrical heat generators. We also must reduce the gas consumption to a standby and quenching process.”

Representatives of Bühler Group – another major player in the global roasters market – have also confirmed the ever-growing demand for energy-saving coffee machinery, adding, however that it cannot be considered a completely new trend in the market.

As Michael Blatter, Bühler’s head of market segment coffee explained, the trend towards more efficient and sustainable coffee plants has been around for many years and it is difficult to say when and where it exactly started. “Consumer requirements and marketing demand as well as the culture and positioning of companies are defining investments towards this direction. The global situation and challenges have increased the focus on efficiency and sustainability,” he said. “This tendency can be seen across the globe and you would be able to find companies in every country who are willing to invest in sustainable solutions. We see the highest demand in Europe but it is also increasing fast in North America and Asia.”

Blatter added that sustainability must be approached in a holistic way and roasting cannot be seen isolated. “Today the scope of processes in the factory and the entire supply chain must be assessed and taken in consideration to design a sustainable plant.” He said that high-capacity roasters still need gas and coffee still needs certain temperatures to create the perfect flavour profile. “Therefore, we are customising entire production lines to increase efficiency. For example, how to use the energy of the exhaust air in the line or even in the entire factory. We have also introduced a preheating unit for our InfinityRoast. With this unit we can save up to 30 per cent of energy. Further capacity can be increased by up to 20 per cent,” Blatter shared.

Part of roasting machine manufacturers’ plans is more active promotion of their new energy-saving and efficient coffee machines during the forthcoming major industry exhibitions. Most of these suppliers have put big hopes on them, taking into account that the pandemic did not allow them to organise a live showcase of their latest products for the major foreign audience in 2020-2021.

Analysts also expect the level of competition in the segment of energy-efficient and saving coffee machines will continue to be tightened, as leading roasting machine suppliers like Brambati, Scolari, Bühler, Probat and US Roaster Corp, will try to expand their market presence.

  • Eugene Gerden is an international freelance writer, who specialises on covering of global coffee, tea and agricultural industry. He worked for several industry titles and may be reached at [email protected].

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