Coffee industry ‘crisis’ looms due to fears of post-Brexit barista shortage

The UK coffee industry is now worth £10.1bn

Olivia Petter
Thursday 28 March 2019 12:30 GMT
It’s a grind: we may struggle to get our flat whites and soya lattes
It’s a grind: we may struggle to get our flat whites and soya lattes (Getty)

As more Brits look to quench their thirsts via flat whites and soya lattes, the coffee industry is growing at such a rapid pace that new research suggests we’re hitting “crisis” point.

According to the UK Coffee Report, created by Allegra World Coffee in partnership with The London Coffee Festival, 6,517 new coffee shops are expected to crop up nationwide by 2023, which could lead to a shortage of baristas.

There are currently 160,000 baristas working in the UK, but the research claims that 40,000 more will be needed to accommodate the looming surge of coffee shops.

Given that the industry relies heavily on overseas workers, the report suggests that Brexit could have an adverse affect on yet another key part of our lives.

For example, beloved coffee and food chain Pret A Manger says just one in 50 of its applicants are British, leading experts to believe that leaving the European Union could prompt a barista “drought”.

The report also found that the coffee industry is now worth £10.1bn, up nearly eight per cent year on year. And while three coffee shops opened every day in 2017, this rose to four shops in 2018.

Jeffrey Young, CEO and Founder of Allegra Events, says: “Brits are a nation full of coffee lovers, so it’s fantastic to see the industry continue to grow at such an incredible rate however, it’s alarming that the number of baristas joining the profession does not match this growth.

“Being a barista is a brilliant job, requiring a great deal of knowledge and skill. I firmly believe it should be as well admired as sommeliers at top restaurants.”

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