Kazakhstan is one of the world’s great tea drinking nations. Hot drinks are very much part of Kazakh culture, where meeting together to enjoy a brew or two is an integral part of society. Coffee consumption remains much lower than tea – but changing attitudes are making Kazakhstan an emerging market for tea and coffee exporters.
Tea: Kazakhstan’s national drink
If you are asked to think of the biggest tea drinking countries in the world, you will probably start picturing England, or a Middle Eastern state such as Turkey. Not thinking of Kazakhstan? You should. The Central Asian state is the world’s 10th biggest tea consumer. Per capita pear year, Kazakhstan consumes 1.54 kilograms of tea.
99% of Kazakhstan’s 17 million population drinks tea every day – 50% drink four or more cups a day. Even though tea is a big part of Kazakh life, the nation is not a major tea producer. It relies on imports to fuel its citizens thirst.
Consumption of tea and coffee far outstrips domestic production. 2014’s statistics, provided by the Committee on Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan, show processed tea and coffee production reached 21,000 tons that year. Imports totalled 40,300 tons, while consumption stood at 59,100 tons.
Imports of tea and coffee products came to $124.7 million in 2016. Tea made up the vast, vast majority of this import profile, reaching around $120 million. Coffee, both roasted and unroasted varieties, makes up the reminder of Kazakhstan’s hot drink related imports.
Black tea is far and away the most popular variety in Kazakhstan. Some 90% of imported tea comes in the form of black tea, packaged in teabags, sold in 3kg boxes.
Euromonitor research suggests herbal and flavoured teas is a growing market sector. The research company states that domestic producers, such as Tea House which holds a 20% market share, are starting to offer low-priced flavoured varieties – revealing another potential route for exporters to explore.
While tea is firmly established in Kazakh culture, coffee does not currently enjoy such a formidable presence across the country. However, things are changing in this regard. Coffee consumption is rising throughout Kazakhstan, making it a potentially lucrative import market.
Kazakhstan establishing coffee culture
Showing the potential of coffee in Kazakhstan, major international chains set up shop there in 2016. Both Starbucks and Costa now have Kazakh operations. Almaty and Astana, Kazakhstan’s biggest cities, are driving a surge in coffee consumption while coffee culture is rapidly establishing itself nationwide.
While tea dominates Kazakh tea and coffee imports, its comparatively more exotic cousin features on import profiles too. Imports of coffee, including fresh, dried, and instant varieties, hover around $4-5 million dollars annually.
Foreign companies, and their Kazakh offices, are market leaders when it comes to coffee in Kazakhstan. The biggest player is Mondelez Kazakhstan with a value share of 28%. It offers two popular brands, Jacobs and Carte Noir, which outstrip sales of the other biggest international producer Nestlé and its Nescafé label.
Kazakhstan imports tea and coffee products from over 28 countries. Its chief tea suppliers are India, Sri Lanka, China, the UAE and Kenya. Coffee, on the other hand, is not primarily sourced from African or South American producers as you might expect. Kazakhstan’s coffee tastes are distinctly European.
Russia is the nation’s biggest coffee trading partner, exporting around products worth around $2 million annually. Italy and Germany are also big suppliers of coffee to the Kazakh market.
Euromonitor predicts coffee is here to stay in Kazakhstan. Why? Thanks to Kazakhstan engaging in greater levels of international trade, citizens of its major urban areas are getting more in touch with European culture – of which coffee drinking is a major part.
Foreign visitors, such as American businesspeople or Turkish construction workers, request coffees to start their days, meaning more hotels, restaurants and vending machines are offering coffee drinks.
All this makes Kazakhstan are market to watch for international coffee producers.
Meet Kazakh tea & coffee buyers at WorldFood Kazakhstan
If you want to meet Kazakhstan’s biggest tea and coffee importers, including buyers, distributors, retail and HORECA representatives, to boost your international sales, you need to be at WorldFood Kazakhstan.
The event has proved an effective forum for promoting new products, discovering more about the local market and meeting professionals within the industry, for over 20 years. If you want to grow your business leads in Central Asia’s biggest tea and coffee market, you need to attend 2017’s show.
To learn more about WorldFood Kazakhstan 2017, or to discuss participation opportunities, contact our team today.