Can you tell us about your current portfolio of products, and how you feel the brand resonates with consumers in the Middle East?
The Nespresso story started with a simple but revolutionary idea: enable everyone to create a cup of coffee just like a skilled barista. Since 1986, our innovations have redefined the way millions of people enjoy their coffee, growing from a ground-breaking idea in Switzerland to a global brand with presence in 76 countries. With the touch of a button, customers everywhere can enjoy high-quality, sustainably produced coffee. As we continue to grow, we remain relentlessly focused on delivering the ultimate coffee experience to our customers around the world. Nespresso has been present in the Middle East for more than 20 years. In MEA, we operate through appointed local agents. Currently, we are present in the GCC and select African markets with our original line, which is the traditional espresso and lungo coffees, and with our professional line for HoReCa and offices. Moreover, in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait, we launched the Vertuo line in September 2019. In our product portfolio, we have 29 coffees for the original line, 13 for the professional line, and 28 for the Vertuo line.
What factors led to the development of the Vertuo coffee line? Moreover, what are your expectations for this line in the UAE market?
Vertuo was first launched in North America in 2014 and has been rolled out since in several markets in Europe and Asia. We based our decision to launch Vertuo line in this region on consumer habits. We noticed that coffee consumption in the Middle East has many cultural influences, where there is Arabic coffee, Turkish coffee, Lebanese coffee, soluble coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and more. Nevertheless, the common feature we see is a preference for a larger cup of coffee. Results also showed that consumers in the Middle East are tech savvy. Vertuo was a natural fit as it offers technology, simplicity, and versatility. We use centrifusion, a unique rotational extraction technology that reads the capsule's barcode and adjusts extraction parameters to create the perfect full-bodied coffee, finished with a silky and generous crema.
How has your R&D advanced since the inception of Nespresso? In what ways has consumer demand evolved over the last 30 years?
Since 1986, continuous innovation and passion for providing highest quality coffee in every cup have been driving our quest to consistently bring new coffee pleasures to consumers at home and away from home. Through the years we have been able to source the finest green coffee from coffee producing countries and have even revived origins to offer unique blends. Our experts select, roast, and grind each blend that is then sealed in capsules for optimum freshness of aromas. Every year we launch new machines, permanent and limited-edition coffees, and accessories. We have built direct relationships with our customers, allowing us to anticipate their needs and tailor our offering and services based on the insights they provide. We therefore continue to spearhead innovations in our products, offering convenience, ease of use, and unique coffee blends.
Can you tell us more about the sustainability aspects of your business?
Our sustainability program is called the Positive Cup. We work closely with more than 100,000 farmers. These farmers are supported by more than 400 agronomists who provide assistance and advice. They teach farmers how to produce coffee sustainably, how to manage water properly, how to use shading techniques, and when to plant new trees to make the farms more environmentally friendly. Another element of the Positive Cup is our recycling program, which began soon after we started producing coffee. Club members can bring recycled coffee capsules to the boutiques. We can also collect capsules from their homes or offices.