Swiss government says coffee 'not essential', stockpiling to end

Revolution brewing? Switzerland declares coffee not ‘essential’, internet disagrees

The Economic Supply of the Nation (AEP), the authority responsible for the management of the compulsory storage of food in Switzerland, "came to the conclusion that coffee was no longer a vital good" because it is "low caloric" and therefore does not "contribute to the nutritional intake required", the government said in a statement. For decades, it's had a national emergency stockpile of essential staples - sugar, rice and coffee, for example.

"Coffee has nearly no calories and subsequently does not contribute, from the physiological perspective, to safeguarding nutrition".

Switzerland is now reportedly sitting on more than 15,000 tons of coffee, all set aside by Swiss companies - including Nestle - as well as local roasters or importers.

Currently, 15 Swiss companies stockpile coffee totalling 15,300 tonnes of green coffee.

It now hopes to end the practice by late 2022.

The organisation that oversees Switzerland's food reserves, Réservesuisse, asked the Federal Office to reconsider its recommendation a year ago.

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In addition, the AEP regards as "low" the risk of the coffee supply, as plantations are spread over three continents and harvesting is possible throughout the year. 12 of these companies oppose the government's decision, Reuters reported, because the stockpiling system insures them against shocks to the supply chain.

The final decision on scrapping coffee stockpiles is expected to be made in November.

Others argue that the caffeine drink's health benefits, including antioxidants and vitamins, have been ignored.

Switzerland's 8.5 million residents consume around nine kg (20 lb) of coffee per person annually, eclipsing Britain's 3.3 kg average and double the 4.5 kg consumed in the United States, according to International Coffee Organisation figures.

In the event the mandatory stockpile is eliminated, the government said it expects importers that are freed from the fee to pass on any savings to coffee consumers.

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