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Cafédirect PLC
IndustryFairtrade beverages
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Key people
John Steel (CEO), John Phillips (Chairman)
ProductsCoffee, Tea, Cocoa

Cafédirect is a UK-based alternative trading organization.


Cafédirect was founded in 1991 by Oxfam,[1] Traidcraft, Equal Exchange Trading and Twin Trading[2][3] as a response to the 1989 global collapse in coffee prices. Its aims was to "give coffee bean, cocoa and tea growers a larger slice of the purchase price for the products."[1]

Cafédirect secured its first commercial contract for Co-op and Safeway's Scottish stores in 1992.[4] Very early on, the brand was endorsed by Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short.[5]

CaféDirect was the first coffee brand to carry the Fairtrade certification mark.[6][7] The company reinvests about 60pc of its profits into grower training and development programmes.[1][7]

In February 2004, the company released more share floats on the stock market in a move to raise $9.1 million.[8]

In 2007, the company's market share for hot drinks equated to 34%, 32%, and 14% respectively of the UK's Fairtrade coffee, tea, and drinking chocolate markets. In the overall market, Cafédirect is the fifth largest coffee brand and seventh largest tea brand in the UK.[9]

In May 2014, Café Direct purchased Kopi, one of the largest coffee subscription services in the UK.[10] In April 2019, Cafédirect partnered with Waitrose to launch a small batch of premium coffee products.[11]

Producer support programmes[edit]

Cafédirect has established the Gold Standard, a guarantee to pay above the world market price for coffee, and to support the development of producers.[2] Between 2004 and 2009, Cafédirect paid more than £7.5 million above the market price to growers (including Fairtrade premiums), invested over £3 million in tailor-made programmes to strengthen growers’ businesses, which represents more than 50% of the company's profits and in total, paid more than £10.5 million towards the businesses and communities of their grower partners.[9]

In addition to paying a fair price to growers in developing countries, the company donates a percentage of its profits to producers for activities such as market information and management training. Its Producer Partnership Programme (PPP) "was set up in 1996 and goes above and beyond Fairtrade criteria".[7] In 2007, the company invested £600,000 in PPP and these investments attracted, without additional cost to the company, matched funds of £700,000, meaning growers benefited from a total investment of £1.3 million.[9]


  • 2008–2011: 15 Gold Great Taste Awards from the Guild of Fine Food.[12]
  • 2011: Social Impact award at the 2011 Guardian Sustainable Business Awards for its Producer Partnership Programme (PPP)[7]
  • 2013: 'Best Ethical Brand' in the Good Housekeeping Food Awards and its Decaf Roast & Ground coffee won a Great Taste Award. Its Foodservice Decaf Espresso blend won a '3 Star' award.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Mulligan, John (9 February 2008). "Cafedirect brews up €6m sales". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Jones, Helen (12 November 1995). "Charity coffee aims for a richer blend". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  3. ^ Lepper, Ian (1 August 1996). "Obituary: Lorna Young". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Scotland: A Fair Trade Nation ... - Scottish Fair Trade Forum". Retrieved 2019-05-31.
  5. ^ "The frank Ms Short". The Guardian. 7 April 1999. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  6. ^ Confino, Jo (19 March 2013). "Café Direct seeks to push the frontiers of the Fairtrade movement". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d Thorpe, Lorna (26 May 2011). "Cafédirect - still redefining fair trade". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Cafedirect floats ethical issue". 2 February 2004. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Cafedirect. "Cafedirect: Onward and upward: Increased profitability and social impact, new chief executive for Cafedirect; Strong Numbers in a Challenging Year". Retrieved 2008-02-07.
  10. ^ Nick Brown (14 May 2014). "Big UK Coffee Brand Cafédirect Acquires Subscription Service Kopi". Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Family (and friends) Brings Luxurious Sustainability to Waitrose with Cafédirect Exclusive". 29 April 2019. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Cafédirect wins sustainability award for its Producer Partnership Programme". The Caterer. 16 June 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  13. ^

External links[edit]