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INTO THE DALGONA COFFEE TREND? MMM, THANKS TRADE.

dalgona coffee

INTO THE DALGONA COFFEE TREND? MMM, THANKS TRADE.

Whipping up a Trade Trend

The “cloud coffee” phenomenon making the rounds on Instagram and TikTok is a prime example of how ingenious people leverage global trade to bring us ideas and products we never knew we needed, but that we now love.

I’m talking about dalgona coffee, sweet caffeinated happiness in a cup. It is made of equal parts instant coffee, sugar and hot water whipped together into a beautiful froth and then spooned on top of your favorite hot or cold milk. This delightful and photogenic confection is *everywhere* on social media.

In the spirit of inquiring into the global origins of the products we love, here’s what we found out.

Dalgona’s “Honeycomb Toffee” Origins

Dalgona coffee isn’t new, but owes its new popularity to Korean actor Jung Il-woo, who demonstrated how to make it on a television show. Dalgona, however, appeals to both older and younger generations because it harkens back to a street food candy from the 1970s and 80s called ppopyi in Korean, meaning honeycomb toffee. The shortcut version of dalgona coffee is meant to be the Millennial version of ppopyi.

Thanks to K-pop culture and social media, dalgona coffee has spread worldwide. As it goes viral globally, more cultures are laying claim to its origins. Macau, in southern China, is where Jung’s clip was filmed earlier this year. The owner of Hon Kee Café in Macau had been making the drink since the early 2000s.

Culture warriors in India and Pakistan claim it as well. There the drink goes by phenti hui coffee, “hand-beaten coffee,” and “Indian cappuccino.” Proud coffee drinkers in Greece claim dalgona derives from its “frappe” (sound familiar?). A form of dalgona can be found in Libya. Coffee aficionados in Cuba use espresso instead of instant coffee.

ppopyi candy
Image credit: KIMCHIMARI, Dalgona/Ppopgi – Korean Sponge Candy Street Food

We Can’t Make Our Dalgona Without Trade

But these countries aren’t the superstars of coffee trade, nor is the United States. Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia are the world’s top producers of coffee. Coffee is mainly produced in developing countries located in the Bean Belt and exported to higher income countries (we see you Finland, top consumer of coffee in the world).

The sugar in dalgona coffee (at least outside the United States) is likely to come from one of the largest producers in the world – Brazil, India, China, Thailand or Pakistan. Both sugar and coffee involve tariffs and complicated supply chains that include giant multinational corporations and myriad smallholder farmers growing crops around the world. Yet somehow, they are both quotidian or everyday products that we don’t think deeply about when we buy them. We choose our coffees and sugars from the grocery aisles or coffee shops and move on with our lives.

So the next time you find social media inspiration for your next food craze, think about the global trade that underpins it. The world is a big place, and trade brings it right to our Instagram feeds.

Take the “dalgona coffee challenge” and find out how good trade tastes: video tutorial from Yummy:

Video thumbnail how to make dalgona coffee

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Brooke Tenison is an International Economist at the Department of Commerce. She was previously a Research Analyst at the International Monetary Fund, a Graduate Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center, and an Economic Fellow at New Markets Lab. She received her Master’s in Economics from George Mason University. Any opinions expressed are her own and are not representative of her current or former positions.

This article originally appeared on TradeVistas.org. Republished with permission.

Sugar Market in the Middle East – The Growth Of Consumption Lost Its Momentum

IndexBox has just published a new report: ‘Middle East – Sugar – Market Analysis, Forecast, Size, Trends and Insights’. Here is a summary of the report’s key findings.

The revenue of the sugar market in the Middle East amounted to $5.9B in 2018, approximately reflecting the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price).

The market value increased at an average annual rate of +3.9% from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded in certain years. The pace of growth was the most pronounced in 2011, when the market value increased by 20% against the previous year. Over the period under review, the sugar market attained its peak figure level in 2018, and is likely to continue its growth in the near future.

Production in the Middle East

In 2018, the amount of sugar produced in the Middle East totaled 4.1M tonnes, picking up by 2.4% against the previous year. The total output volume increased at an average annual rate of +2.2% over the period from 2007 to 2018; the trend pattern remained consistent, with only minor fluctuations being observed over the period under review.

Exports in the Middle East

In 2018, approx. 235K tonnes of sugar were exported in the Middle East; picking up by 4.9% against the previous year. In general, sugar exports continue to indicate a prominent growth. In value terms, sugar exports stood at $111M (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Exports by Country

The exports of the two major exporters of sugar, namely Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, represented more than two-thirds of total export.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of exports, amongst the main exporting countries, was attained by Saudi Arabia.

In value terms, the United Arab Emirates ($57M) and Saudi Arabia ($54M) were the countries with the highest levels of exports in 2018, together comprising 100% of total exports.

Export Prices by Country

The sugar export price in the Middle East stood at $474 per tonne in 2018, dropping by -4.3% against the previous year. Over the period from 2007 to 2018, it increased at an average annual rate of +1.5%. Average export prices varied noticeably amongst the major exporting countries. In 2018, the country with the highest export price was the United Arab Emirates ($511 per tonne), while Saudi Arabia stood at $439 per tonne.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of export prices was attained by the United Arab Emirates.

Imports in the Middle East

In 2018, the amount of sugar imported in the Middle East stood at 4.8M tonnes, reducing by -8.1% against the previous year. The total imports indicated a modest growth from 2007 to 2018: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +1.1% over the last eleven year period. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Based on 2018 figures, the sugar imports decreased by -0.8% against 2014 indices. In value terms, sugar imports stood at $1.6B (IndexBox estimates) in 2018.

Imports by Country

In 2018, the United Arab Emirates (1.2M tonnes), Iraq (1.1M tonnes) and Saudi Arabia (1.1M tonnes) represented the largest importers of sugar in the Middle East, comprising 72% of total import. Iran (698K tonnes) ranks next in terms of the total imports with a 15% share, followed by Yemen (6.4%). Jordan (122K tonnes) and Israel (83K tonnes) followed a long way behind the leaders.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of imports, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by Iraq, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the United Arab Emirates ($353M), Saudi Arabia ($350M) and Iraq ($332M) appeared to be the countries with the highest levels of imports in 2018, together comprising 67% of total imports. Iran, Yemen, Jordan and Israel lagged somewhat behind, together comprising a further 30%.

Import Prices by Country

The sugar import price in the Middle East stood at $324 per tonne in 2018, dropping by -16.7% against the previous year. The import price indicated a modest growth from 2007 to 2018: its price increased at an average annual rate of +1.4% over the last eleven years. The trend pattern, however, indicated some noticeable fluctuations being recorded throughout the analyzed period. Import prices varied noticeably by the country of destination; the country with the highest import price was Israel ($495 per tonne), while Yemen ($289 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

From 2007 to 2018, the most notable rate of growth in terms of import prices was attained by Iran, while the other leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

Source: IndexBox AI Platform