Relentlessly goods economists call what can hardly be deprived of consumers. Things that are not easily replaced by others. Water, say, or soap are inelastic goods for all people, in every corner of the earth. But every people has its own habits, its own priorities. He prioritizes his needs differently.
Its limitations and confinements pandemic two years revealed the distinct, inflexible habits which, if you think about it, differ only in the details.
The common line that unites them is the need of people, manifested during the pandemic after every slight relaxation of the restrictive measures, to recover some small daily practices that may seem insignificant from a distance, but seem to be of great importance for mental balance many.
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The psychotherapy of coffee
For the Greeks it is his case coffee. The gathering of people around a coffee table for conversation and “socialization”, which during the difficult years of the health crisis and the ten-year economic crisis that preceded it and dramatically shrunk incomes, turned out to be an inelastic necessity.
It should be noted that in neighboring Italy, which is famous for its coffee and in any case is not very different from Greece, both climatically and in terms of people’s temperament, consumers drink espressos (quite a few during the day) standing up and usually alone, leaning on the counter of a cafe.
In two or three minutes they have paid and the Italians have left the cafe. Groups of Greeks gathered around a small table can stay there for hours chatting. No economic, health or other crisis could shake this “national” habit. In the USA, the unshakable habit of the day is the breakfast they take “outside”.
We are talking about the breakfast that workers buy on the way to work, “a bite of cake or a donut and a hot or cold coffee” as CNBC explains in a report, to enjoy in their workplace, and start their day like this.
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Coffee is the small daily pleasure, the “inelastic good”, that many people in the West cannot part with – in the East, as you know, tea is very common.
So in the US, while overall restaurant traffic fell by 2% in the second quarter of the year compared to the corresponding period last year due to the financial constraints caused by the energy crisis and the increase in prices caused by inflation, the sub-category of breakfast and of morning snacks Americans take has remained steady, according to research firm The NPD Group.
Restaurant chains such as Starbucks explain that their morning sales are mostly due to people returning to their pre-pandemic work routines. NPD analyst David Portalatin also notes the fact that, in the final analysis, as much as consumers’ purchasing power shrinks, a “breakfast” still remains bearable for workers’ wallets.
“This is my joy”
“For too many people, breakfast is a cup of coffee. Maybe a specialty coffee they can’t make at home, for which they pay a bit more. But everyone thinks it’s worth it for the enjoyment they get,” noted Portalatin.
According to the US National Bureau of Statistics, at the end of July the cost of ready-to-eat food bought for the home had increased by 7.6% on a 12-month basis. However, the prices of the food that one buys to fill one’s refrigerator clearly increased more, by 13.1%.
Kathleen Flynn, a 26-year-old New York photographer, says she rarely eats out anymore and has cut down her spending significantly. But every morning on her way to work she still stops at her neighborhood cafe, La Cabra, to buy a cardamom bagel and a cappuccino. “This is my joy,” confesses the young worker.
Back to normal
Before the pandemic broke out, the restaurant industry had found that “breakfast” represented the greatest growth potential it has. It offered the best prospects for a store to increase its turnover and gain new loyal customers. Fast food chains had caught on to this trend and had improved the quality of coffee and cake that one could buy on the way to work or school.
“In early 2020, just weeks before the lockdowns began, Wendy’s launched a new breakfast menu in all of its US stores. Something McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and Chick-fil-A had already done,” notes CNBC.
When lockdowns began and offices and schools closed, the breakfast industry collapsed. Starbucks had found that their customers didn’t buy coffee in the morning, but later in the day. Many Taco Bell locations stopped offering breakfast and opened much later, almost at noon.
When they began to relax and relax, the breakfast took over again. So much so that it even surpassed the pre-pandemic turnover. “Breakfast” sales from fast food restaurants and coffee shops jumped 32% higher in the 12 months ended June 12 compared with 2018-2019 levels, according to data from market research firm Numerator.
Theomenies and appreciations
It should be noted that the prices of coffee in the international markets have more than tripled in the last three years in the international markets – it is known to be a commodity that is traded in the commodity futures markets, like oil. The reason, of course, is climate change.
The droughts that hit Brazil and other major coffee-producing countries worldwide particularly in the southern hemisphere winter of 2021 (from May to September) followed the drought that had preceded the summer months. The result was to destroy vast areas of coffee cultivation and cripple last year’s crop. International prices had soared 30% higher in July last year alone.
Everything shows, however, that coffee lovers around the world cannot give it up in any way. This is perhaps the “red line” of the small daily pleasures of modern man.