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A Look Back at Some of the Top Coffee Business Stories of 2020

A solid decade of growth, increased venture capital investment and increased consolidation among manufacturers and other companies catering to the coffee industry came to a screeching halt almost overnight in March of 2020.

We witnessed fewer new product launches throughout the year, less engagement in sustainable supply chain building, and less public engagement overall as many companies tightened the purse strings.

The pandemic’s effects were most apparent in the coffee retail segment, where many temporary closings turned into permanent ones, operators scrambled to make do, and unfortunately mass layoffs ensued. According to the latest United States labor bureau statistics, some 1.9 million U.S. people who were working in “food services and drinking places” last November were unemployed in November 2020.

Yet, as Americans insisted on drinking their daily coffee — pandemic be damned — the industry responded, adapted, and, in some segments, grew. The year 2020 saw notable moves in the home coffee equipment and roasted coffee subscription segments, while there were also some big news in coffee-adjacent categories such as alternative milks, barista robotics, ordering technology, and even a coffee-like beverage born in a lab.

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