Understanding Finnish coffee enthusiasts’ preferences for specialty coffee - an artisan product in the new food movement

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Business | Master's thesis
Degree programme
Information and Service Management (ISM)
Coffee, a globally coveted commodity, has long held a prominent place in Finland's consumption habits. Within it, specialty coffee can be seen as one phenomenon in the global new foods and beverages movement, artisan products, which highlighted small-scale production, meticulous craftsmanship, the utilization of locally sourced ingredients, and a steadfast commitment to natural and sustainable principles Specialty coffee has its own audience, so-called coffee enthusiasts. Understanding how Finnish coffee enthusiasts make decisions when purchasing coffee beans is crucial for coffee producers and roasteries looking to excel in a competitive market. This study has two main objectives: (1) to identify the key attributes that Finnish coffee enthusiasts value most when evaluating and buying coffee beans and (2) to uncover distinct segments among Finnish enthusiasts with differing preferences for these coffee attributes. To tackle the first objective, we employed Best-Worst Scaling (BWS), where participants evaluated sets of 11 tasks, each containing items they deemed most and least appealing. For the second objective, we used Latent Class Analysis (LCA) to discern latent consumer groups. Expert interviews guided the selection of relevant survey attributes, which were then administered through an online survey shared across various social media channels and coffee enthusiast groups in Finland. The survey focused on four attributes: roast level, flavor profile, sustainable labels, and societal recommendations, with an additional item on discounts/promotions. The findings unveiled those societal recommendations ranked as the most valuable attribute among Finnish coffee consumers, closely followed by flavor profiles. Interestingly, roast level, sustainable labels, and promotions held less sway over their preferences. LCA results identified four distinct consumer profiles: Social Savvy: This group highly values societal recommendations and is willing to pay more for their coffee; Dark Roast Eco-Champions: Enthusiastic about bold, dark-roasted coffee, they prioritize sustainability and peer recommendations; "Green" Bean Minimalists: Preferring light-roasted coffee, this group is less influenced by brand recognition or societal recommendations; Eco-Conscious Bargain Hunters: Open to promotions, they have diverse tastes and a willingness to explore different flavor profiles. This study sheds light on the diverse landscape of coffee consumers, especially focused on coffee enthusiasts and in broader aspect, consumers of artisan products, in Finland, offering insights that open avenues for further research. Coffee production companies and related craft food and beverage companies can leverage this knowledge to tailor their strategies for different consumer groups, enhancing their ability to meet consumer preferences and reference points effectively.
Thesis advisor
Halme, Merja
coffee attributes, consumer references, MaxDiff, best-worst scaling, artisan products, specialty coffee, craft food movement