February 10/San Jose, Cal./PRWEB -- Coffee is regarded as the highest consumed beverage in developed countries, such as the U.S. and major European countries. The beverage is the second most traded commodity in the world, next only to oil. The global coffee market is characterized by high amount of speculation and volatility, and is highly driven by the production trends that prevail in the major coffee producing nations. Consumption of coffee in the global market increased in 2010, with the ready-to-drink (RTD) segment topping the list with notable increases in almost all popular brands.

Despite the financial crisis being at its peak during the last quarter of 2008 and all through 2009, coffee performed well in terms of overall consumption, indicating that people continue to indulge in this little luxury come what may. Consumption figures have nearly always exceeded production over the last several years. The recent recession saw a large number of takers for premium instant coffee despite the relative high pricing, indicating a shift away from fresh coffee. The demand of the premium Arabica coffee variety is expected to grow at a higher rate as compared to its low-end cousin, the Robusta variety. The major growth driver is the increased preference by consumers in the West towards premium Arabica coffee beans. With increasing sophistication in coffee drinking habits, the present day consumers are more curious about the origin and quality of coffee consumed.

Blended coffee has dominated the global roasted coffee market for some time. Different coffee (roasted and specialty) types are marked by their own distinct taste, body and aroma. Coffee is produced almost exclusively in the developing world that includes 17 least developed countries. Coffee-producing nations are continuously increasing domestic consumption. Coffee consumption in Brazil, the largest coffee producer globally, grew by 5% in 2010, versus the global average of 2%. China and India, with their large middle-class consumer bases and growing number of young professionals, are witnessing increased consumption of coffee. On the other hand, while these emerging markets are increasing consumption on the strength of their rising disposable incomes, there are few other importing countries that are offering potential for expansion because of low per capita consumptions. New markets such as Ukraine and Russia are witnessing a sharp rebound in consumption levels. Several Middle Eastern countries with higher disposable incomes are also forecast to offer good prospects for growth in the short-to-medium term period.

 From the February 13, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.