Starbucks Opens 500th Store in Mexico; Doubles Efforts to Help Farmers
OREANDA-NEWS. October 06, 2015. When Starbucks opened its first store in Mexico in September 2002, it was a milestone moment for the company. Starbucks had just reached a total of 5,000 stores and was only six years into its expansion to Europe and Asia. Latin America was next.
“We opened our first store 13 years ago at Angel de la Independencia in Mexico City, and since then we have created a large community in the Mexican world of coffee,” said Marc Branet, director of Starbucks Mexico.
Starbucks and strategic partner Alsea have brought a distinct coffee experience to Mexico and helped expand the country’s specialty coffee market, with the country’s per capita coffee consumption increasing 60% over the past decade.* Together, Starbucks and Alsea have also expanded operations to Argentina, Chile and Colombia. “Starbucks has had an important role in increasing coffee consumption in Mexico, and has supported the growth and profitability of Mexican coffee growers,” said Branet.
Today, Starbucks has more than 6,000 partners (employees), including more than 640 certified Coffee Masters, who share their passion and knowledge for coffee with customers. Stores in Mexico have also highlighted regional coffees, such as Starbucks® Shade Grown Mexico from the Chiapas region, serving more than 10 million cups of locally sourced coffee in its stores each year. Starbucks has also introduced its signature espresso beverages to the market, such as Flat White as well as cold refreshment with Fizzio™ handcrafted sodas. In February 2015 the country’s first Starbucks Reserve™ store, showcased some of the world’s rarest single-origin, small-lot arabica coffees.
Starbucks has now reached 500 stores in Mexico, its largest market in Latin America. The 500th store in Mexico City's Antara Shopping Centre pays tribute to Starbucks connection with the country's coffee heritage. Elements of the store design were inspired by coffee farms of Chiapas. For example, varying light and dark wood tones evoke the coffee roasting process.
Supporting Farmers Impacted by Coffee Rust
Despite the growth of specialty coffee in Mexico, coffee farmers face a significant threat from coffee leaf rust (la roya). The plant fungus damages millions of coffee trees, making it harder for farmers to produce high-quality coffee. In 2014, Starbucks Mexico launched a new coffee tree revitalization program called Todos Sembramos Caf? (We All Grow Coffee) to combat the disease. In its first year, the program used 100 percent of the profits from Shade Grown Mexico whole bean coffee sold in Starbucks® stores to distribute over 180,000 rust-resistant plants to more than 60 coffee farms in Chiapas. The program helped farmers gain access to education and training needed to improve the quality of their crops and maintain the stability of their land.
“We began this program to meet the real necessity of growers who have seen their harvest diminish in recent years,” said Arturo Mart?nez, marketing director for Starbucks Mexico. “Starbucks objective is to contribute to the sustainable supply of coffee plants, building together with producers and customers a better future for these communities.”
Starbucks Mexico aims to double the initiative by donating 360,000 coffee plants to help renew farms devastated by rust. Starbucks also plans to open a new Farmer Support Center in Mexico to provide on-the-ground aid starting in 2016.
One Tree for Every Bag
Starbucks Mexico’s Todos Sembramos Caf? initiative served as inspiration for a similar year-long effort launching in Starbucks stores in the United States. Through Starbucks One Tree for Every Bag, a rust-resistant coffee tree will be planted for every bag of coffee purchased in participating U.S. stores. To kick off this effort, Starbucks will distribute one million coffee trees to farmers in the region, starting with Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.
* According to the National Association of the Coffee Industry AC (ANICAFE), consumption per capita in Mexico was 1.16 kg in 2005, while for 2015 it is expected to be 1.85 kg, representing an increase of 60% in this period.