Statement: Response to announcement that Tchibo has bought the UK’s leading independent coffee roaster Matthew Algie


The Fairtrade Foundation congratulates  the UK’s leading independent coffee roaster Matthew Algie on its acquisition by the family-owned German coffee and food service business Tchibo, and hopes this amalgamation will benefit the coffee communities that rely on Fairtrade sales to both companies.

The deal means that multinational Tchibo, one of the six biggest coffee roasting companies in the world, will be able to further grow and expand its operations in the UK and Ireland and potentially across Europe.

Its sustainable business policies have earned the family business, which was founded in Hamburg in 1949, multiple awards including the European Union CSR Award in 2013. Vista Fairtrade coffee was developed and launched by Tchibo Coffee International Ltd back in 2006.  The Vista brand was added to the Tchibo Coffee Service’s portfolio of products back in 2008 and today is used across Europe as their Fairtrade coffee solution.

Matthew Algie will continue to operate as a standalone entity but with the platform for further expansion and innovation. The company has driven innovation in ethical trading in the UK coffee market, including the introduction of the UK’s first Fairtrade espresso bean. In 2004 the firm launched UK’s first Triple Certified espresso: Fairtrade, Organic, and Rainforest Alliance. Matthew Algie stands out in the UK coffee trade for its unrivalled “farm-to-cup” approach to ethical sourcing as well as its technical excellence with dedication to staff and customer training. Today, around 90% of the green coffee that Matthew Algie buys is Fairtrade. Matthew Algie supplies coffee to some of the biggest retailers and hotel chains including Marks & Spencer’s Café, Sainsbury’s Café, Gleneagles Hotel and leading independent coffee shops, bars and restaurants throughout the UK and Ireland.

The news of the acquisition and the potential opportunities it could provide for coffee farmers chimes with a consumer survey by Globescan released by the Fairtrade Foundation this week which found that the vast majority of British consumers believe it is the responsibility of businesses to make food fair. The research shows 92% of shoppers said food companies should ensure food production is fair and sustainable.

Fairtrade believes that the research demonstrates that British people are giving a strong message to companies about the kind of trade we want to see and now, more than ever, they must prioritise fairer, greener, more sustainable food production. Therefore progressive, responsible businesses will want to respond to their customers’ desire to see them treat farmers and workers fairly.

The Fairtrade Foundation believes that this deal gives Matthew Algie a major platform to build on the achievements of the last few years and to create further significant opportunities to continue to source great tasting coffee for their customers sustainably, but now with the complementary experience, products and services, and routes to market offered by the new partner, Tchibo.

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