Interview ISN with Cláudia Pimentel. General Secretary Of AICC Portuguese Coffee Roasters and Trade Association

Q 1 ISN Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about the role of the AICC in the coffee industry?

My name is Cláudia Pimentel. I’m the general secretary of the AICC – Associação Industrial e Comercial de Café (Portuguese Coffee Roasters and Trade Association) since 2015.

Q 2 ISN Can you provide an overview of the current state of the Portuguese coffee industry and its growth prospects

Coffee consumption in Portugal shifts back to the on-trade as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted with Foodservice sales of coffee recovering in 2022 after a poor showing in 2021 characterised by new confinement measures at the beginning of the year. 

The Portuguese market consumed 25tons of coffee, imported around 50 ton of coffee and exported around 18 ton, in 2022, which was not a typical year of consume. In 2019, before covid-19, these numbers were higher (internal consume 33ton, imports 67 tons, exports 15 tons)

As the on-trade channel recovers, the off-trade channel declines in retail volume and current value terms in 2022, but the total market as recovered.

Fresh coffee beans has been one of the few positives in the off-trade channel and fresh ground coffee pods stands out as one of the biggest losers.

New portfolios of the different retailers have become increasingly sophisticated, with these retailers looking to compete on quality as well as price, and organic coffee is rising.


Coffee consumption on the rise despite setbacks 

Retail volume sales of coffee will likely stabilises has consumers return to their old routines, with consumption out of home rising – Portuguese majority consumes coffee out of home. 

In total volume terms, coffee consumption in the country is anticipated to grow at a slow but steady pace. 

Premiumisation expected to be a feature 

Demand for premium coffee experiences are set to continue rising both through the on-trade as well as the off-trade. 

The emergence of niche products such as vegan options are also set to rise. 

In the off-trade channel, the slow coffee trend is likely to continue gaining steam over the coming years, while in the on-trade, the rising number of coffee specialist outlets delivering premium products and experiences should help drive value growth. 

Innovation and sustainability are likely to drive the competitive landscape

Product innovation is set to be a differentiating factor within coffee both in terms of product quality and in terms of packaging. In the case of the latter, new packaging innovations are expected to be increasingly geared towards sustainability and the use of environmentally friendly materials. 

Brands are increasingly betting on innovation, with the leading brands lauching  innovative systems for coffee capsules, and more brands have started to offer the consumer capsules in aluminum, a more easily recyclable material.

Also committed to sustainability, in an unprecedented initiative aimed at a common social good, 13 coffee brands – Bellissimo, Bogani, Buondi Caffè, Chave D’Ouro, Delta Q, Nescafé Dolce Gusto, Nespresso, Nicola, Segafredo, Sical, Starbucks, Torrié and UCC, under the auspices of the AICC, joined efforts to develop a Coffee Capsule Recycling project with Cascais Ambiente and Tratolixo, with a pioneering project being launched in November 2022 to provide collection points for recycling coffee capsules used in the Municipality of Cascais.

Cascais was the first Municipality to implement this system in partnership with the Associação Industrial e Comercial do Café and the 13 brands mentioned above, who have extend this system to Guimarães last week, in the 20Th of June.

The aluminum or plastic capsules, after put in the collection points, are delivered and stored and then go to the recycler where they are treated allowing the different materials to be separated and have a second life. Coffee grounds are converted into organic compost for agricultural use; the collected aluminum melts again, since it is infinitely recyclable and can be transformed into new everyday objects (ballpoint pens, mechanical pencils, etc.); and plastic produces a waste material that will be used to manufacture new objects such as urban furniture, among others.

New city councils have already shown interest in joining the project, with the city of Lisbon joining the Pods Recycle project next 11st of July 

Q 3 ISN What are the unique qualities or characteristics of Portuguese coffee that differentiate it from other coffee-producing regions?

The “Portuguese Coffee” is recognized by a set of unique characteristics. It is a high quality coffee with its own culture with as much of originality as tradition.

The history of Coffee starts with the Portuguese, when they introduced the coffee around the world in the 18th century. As a result, Portugal is amongst the countries with the best knowledge of all roasting and coffee blending processes. Portugal is at the forefront of the coffee industry.

The ”Portuguese Coffee – a blend of stories®” is known by its blends:


The Portuguese espresso is generally obtained from a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans in a slow roast process. The result is a hazelnut-colored cream, dense and a well-balanced coffee and a sensory experience that tends to linger in the mouth and thus creates a powerful consumer memory. It is characterized by an enormous aromatic complexity, by a gentle acidity, for a remarkable balance of flavors and a pleasant and persistent aftertaste. 


• The richness of Portuguese Coffee and its history;
• The Portuguese culture and coffee heritage;
• The differentiating experience;
• Easily identify a coffee made in Portugal according to its own tradition;
• Easily identify a Portuguese Coffee brand;
• Ensure the specific characteristics of Portuguese Coffee, such as is unique cream.


The Portuguese drink coffee as a pleasure but also as an excuse to meet friends and “talk a bit”.

The Portuguese usually drink espresso, mostly out of home. Espresso is so important to us that we also spell it as a Portuguese word: “EXPRESSO” instead of ESPRESSO!

For the Portuguese, coffee is more then a drink, is an emotional moment to share. And we want to share these moments with the rest of the world.

Know more at:

Q 4 ISN What are the major challenges faced by Portuguese coffee exporters, and how does the association help its members overcome these challenges? 

The growing impact of climate change is being felt all over the world and this is having a detrimental impact on some of the largest coffee producing countries such as Brazil and Colombia, with unfavourable weather conditions impacting coffee bean harvests. 

Manufacturers have also been hit by problems relating to transportation and logistics which have culminated in a considerable problem for the roasters.

 The current inconsistencies being seen in the financial markets coupled with expected further inflation in the price of raw materials could lead to further problems for the coffee business, as the rest of the manufacters.

The Association is helping their associates by representing them near the economic and governmental institutions by defending their interests

Q 5 ISN We know some coffee producers in Portugal like Deltas Cafes, Sical , Nicola  and they have been established  in the market for long time , can you provide us with a list of some coffee producers?

CAFÉS NEGRITA, S ACafés NegritaHelena 21 814 36 53
CAFÉS PARAÍSO DO LIS, LDACafés Paraíso LisHugo 244871240
VALE & MARÇAL LDA.Cafés PortelaJorge Març 938 746 028   +3519458100
JMV – JOSÉ MARIA VIEIRA, S.A.Torrié CafésAlexandre
MASSIMO ZANETTI BEVERAGE IBERICA, S.A.Chave D’Ouro / NicolaJoão Varela 919 851 178
NEWCOFFEEBoganiLuís 255781030  +351 93836936


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