Ethical Consumerism

Whilst safety is at the forefront of everyone's minds, multiple studies are reporting renewed shared values on ethical, charitable and environmental issues.

What do consumers value most in the post-covid world and how should your café adapt?

We've all heard reports of consumers shunning organisations that have reacted poorly to COVID-19 and pledging their allegance to businesses that have served their communities and core workers well. Certainly, it has been fantastic to see so many business, when struggling themselves, act charitably and kindly in the face of diversity. For most, this lesson is clear.

More nuanced however, are environmental issues. On the one hand we have taken a backward step when it comes to recycling, composting and opting for re-usables. On the other hand, global research by FMCG Gurus identified that 55% of consumers have now become more conscious about the environment and 35% said that they are now paying closer attention to sustainability claims. What does this all mean for cafés?

It is increasingly more important for cafés to select products that have been sustainably sourced.

Taste and convenience have long been the top reasons in determining which cafes consumers visit. Of course now, we can assume safety is in this mix too. But what of sustainability? A once smaller, but growing determinant has had a firm boost in the midst of Coronavirus.

Whether it's Fairtade Coffee, Rainforest Alliance tea or Organic cookies, cafes must make their product selections wisely - and promote their sustainability choices proudly. The care you take in making these selections speaks volumes to your ethics and will resonate with an increasing number of your consumers.

Add this to your community and charitable initiatives and you'll be hitting exactly the right note.

Recyclable, Compostable or Re-usable?

At the onset of the pandemic, cafes and consumers immediatley shunned re-usables in favour of disposable take-away cups. Whilst this sets minds at rest in testing times, there's no avoiding the environmental impact. So what are our options going forward?

Recyclable paper cups

With customers no longer hanging around to dispose of cups at cup recycling collection points, it's likely that most paper cups used during the pandemic will end up in landfill. In offices and campuses, if we can resume recycling collectons again soon, we can begin to address the issue. But for independent cafes, the picture may be quite different.

Plant-based and compostible cups

That's where plant based alternatves come in. Perfect for cafes with a conscience, these send a clear message to the inceasingly environmentally-aware consumer. Just like recycling, composting opportunities may remain restricted for a while, but the 'made from plants' messaging will certainly resonate with most of your customers.

Re-usable cups

Re-usables remain an issue for some food service businesses, particlarly larger-scale operations. It's clear from social media however, that the independent sector is coming back round to the most sustainale option when it comes to coffee-to-go. It'll all come down to the personal choice of any given café, but here's a few tips on how you might be able to reintroduce re-usables safely.

How to re-introduce reusable cups safely

01 Mark or tape a cross on the counter, where customers can position their reusable cup. (And insist on clean, dry cups only)

02 For espresso based drinks, simply make the espresso in a shot glass and pour it into the cup without touching it. Top up the cup with any steamed milk or water from the jug. A talended barista may still manage some cracking latte art.


For powder-based drinks like hot chooclate, chai, and turmeric, simply prepare the complete drink in a milk foaming jug and pour into the cup without handling it.

04 Place prominant signage in the cafe so customers understand the process.


Back this up with your website and social media posts too. A short video will be particularly effective.

Why we are investing in Bee Hives in Honduras

With so much going on at home, its easy to forget the people around the world who produce the products we love to consume. At Matthew Algie, supporting coffee farmers and our environment remains at the forefront of our minds.

Honey production on coffee farms is increasingly popular for a number of reasons - environmental, economic and societal. Regardless of the pandemic, bees continue to be an invaluable asset to our planet.

Earlier this year, our Blak Nektar Speciality Coffee brand invested in 50 apiaries at the Capucas Co-operative in Honduras. Find out why the hives are so important, and how the bees are getting on, over on our new website!