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Change in prices

Wineries, breweries, dairy farms, and bottling plants churned out a large variety of drinks every year. There was so much of variety available that the good old coffee started taking a backseat in common man’s choice. Reports tell that the consumption of whole milk dropped down, consumption of soft drinks increased, and the consumption of coffee declined considerably during the period. One reason for changing trend can be the dietary and health recommendations made by nutritionists. Here are some common factors that influence change: • Change in prices,

• Increase in disposable income, • Increase in the availability of new and easy-to-use products, • Rise in imports, and • Intense advertisement campaigns. With an increasing competition, the variety of products available in the market was tremendous. Juices, milks, and sodas were available in a number of flavors. They were convenient to use and one could get them at very competitive prices. Besides, it can also be said that there has been an increase in disposable incomes of families during this period and that had also added to their migration from conventional beverages.

During this period, the pattern of families also changed. That is, the number of nuclear families increased, there were more single-parent households, more aged individuals living alone, who started finding convenient drinks easier to use. There were households with more than one earning member who often preferred take-away drinks that were not only convenient to use, but also stuck to the prescribed nutritional norms. An increase in imports added to the variety in the market and advertisements made sure that the products got effective introductions and found their way into all types of households.

The awareness on diet and health shot up during this period. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (USDA and DHHS 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995) prescribed guidelines based on scientific findings. It helped people in making the right diet choices for a healthy living. It provided nutritional labels for food items. The price of coffee is another factor. Though coffee was largely imported to the United States from Vietnam, Mexico, and other South American countries, the prices were decided by the exchange in New York. Even at a global level, it is said that the production of coffee was more than the consumption.

This factor directly affected the farmers whose selling price declined. However, the coffee that was sold to the consumer continued to increase. When farmers got a pittance for their produce, their economies faced a downturn, directly affecting the production of the finest coffee beans that they produced such as the arabica or the robusta. Many of them were forced to give up farming and go in search of greener pastures to earn their living. There is a direct relation between the low price of the low-grade coffee and the high price of high-grade coffee.

When the price of one is brought down terribly, then the other should also be brought down. However, this threw open the doors for big retailers and large multinational companies that control the prices at the international market. The sale of coffee beans continued to fall tremendously since the 1990s and, according to reports, in the year 2002, the sale was about 60% lower than it was in the year 1997. Changing lifestyles and adjustment to roasting and blending practices could also have triggered the downtrend.

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