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Canadian adults drink an average of 2.8 cups of coffee a day, and more than two-thirds enjoy at least one cup a day. But for many, the complex bean-to-cup route that powers the country’s $6.2-billion coffee industry remains a mystery.

It takes the smooth functioning of the supply chain – starting in as many as 30 different countries that export to Canada – to ensure everyone can purchase their favourite brew.

Come Together, the theme of this year’s annual Coffee Association of Canada’s (CAC) conference in Toronto, focused on how the value of shared perspectives and industry intelligence supports the supply chain.

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CAC represents a wide range of groups involved in the industry including roasters, retailers, importers and suppliers, related associations and individuals.

CAC president Lesya Balych-Cooper says a key strength of the association is its ability to produce proprietary research such as its annual Coffee Drinking Trends Study.

Come Together also served to ensure different groups had the opportunity to network and better understand one another’s challenges, she says.

“Very often, for example, different interest groups face different issues: producers may not be aware of challenges in the retail sector, while owners of cafés and coffee shops may not know about concerns roasters are dealing with,” says Ms. Balych-Cooper.

Members, particularly smaller companies and individuals, place great value on CAC’s advocacy.

“We are the government relations department for some of the medium and small companies. CAC’s role in addressing collective industry issues, including conversations with Health Canada, helps their business on a strategic level by keeping them informed about regulations and policies that impact them,” she says.

One of the next big shifts in the sector will be the new cannabis legislation, understanding the opportunities in cannabis edibles and navigating the laws and regulations, says Ms. Balych-Cooper.

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Meanwhile, CAC benefits from its many volunteers who are keen to learn more about the industry.

“We welcome them with open arms – and a cup of coffee,” she laughs.

Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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