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Future of Illycaffe coffee: Prices as high as fine wine?

Alanna Petroff
Senior Economics Correspondent at Yahoo Finance UK

Is there a market for pricey premium coffee just like there’s a market for super-expensive fine wine?

Illycaffe’s chairman Andrea Illy says it’s possible his coffee company could start charging much more for the best brews.

“The idea is that, very much like what happened with wine, there’s a very broad quality and price spectrum. I think that we can pursue the same [opportunity,] in differentiating more and more coffees so that the average price per cup can increase,” he said.

His comments were made in a special one-to-one interview with Yahoo Finance UK at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

Chairman Andrea Illy is a leading figure behind Italy’s Illycaffe. Photo: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Illy’s strategy reflects both the current trend of ‘specialisation’ in the coffee industry, with brands setting themselves apart for their higher quality and higher prices, and the growing consumer appetite for high grade roasts.

But instead of focusing on profit margins, he said this could be “an opportunity to transfer more resources to the [coffee] growing countries.”

Illycaffe, a family-owned business, operates in more than 140 countries. Illy’s grandfather originally founded the company.

READ MORE: The latest news from the World Economic Forum