With a total area of almost 1.5 million miles² and an estimated population of more than 26 million, the Nordic countries are surprisingly vast. They’re also among the countries with the best macroeconomic performance, making them ideal for businesses looking to expand into these regions.

When it comes to coffee, the Nordic countries are among the top consumers in Europe – in fact Finland, Denmark and Norway make up the top three coffee drinking countries with an average consumption of 10.2kg per person per annum. Whereas traditionally the Nordic countries have had a strong at-home and at-work coffee drinking culture, this is now changing as more consumers are embedding speciality coffee and café culture into their daily lifestyles.

The market is developing and there are strong opportunities for growth across the Nordic countries as international branded chains are influencing existing independent coffee shops.


The founding country of the Speciality Coffee Association of Europe, Norway has one of the strongest third wave coffee movements in the Nordics, owing in part to former barista champions and micro roasters Robert Thoresen and Tim Wendelboe.

Although coffee has been the national drink in Norway for many years, the success of Thoresen, Wendelboe and their contemporaries has added to the interest surrounding the speciality coffee market. This has fuelled a rise in branded coffee shop chains, including Espresso House and Starbucks, and the Norwegian market is set to grow across the next five years.


Despite having the largest annual coffee consumption in Europe (12.1kg per capita), Finland is surprisingly behind when it comes to speciality coffee. However, interest and demand are increasing and more independent roasteries are starting to appear, taking the lead from Kaffa Roastery and Turun Kahvipaahtimo.

The Finnish branded coffee shop market has contracted slightly and continues to be fragmented with no clear market leader. However, renewed focus from international chains is expected to fuel steady growth, despite consumer preference to drink coffee at home.


Dominated by independent coffee shops, café culture arrived in Denmark in 1976 when Café Sommersko opened. With an average coffee consumption per person of 9.4kg each year, the Danes expect high-quality coffee in an environment that embodies hyggelig (cosiness).

There is no lack of branded coffee shops in Denmark, with key players Baresso Coffee and Joe & The Juice continuing to expand, although the exit of Kong Kaffe from the market (27 stores) in 2014 did result in the overall market contracting slightly. Despite this, the market is showing signs of growth during 2015 and is forecast to continue growth over the next five years.


Although the largest market for branded coffee shops in the Nordic regions, Sweden is heavily dominated by traditional, independent bakeries on account of the Swedish fika culture of having a coffee with something sweet. However, the recent World of Coffee event in Gothenburg has cemented Sweden’s status as a key player in the speciality coffee market.

Espresso House dominates the branded coffee shop market, followed by Wayne’s Coffee and these two chains have a combined total of 67% market share. Interestingly, convenience stores are crucial to the coffee industry, increasing the trend for takeaway coffee and this could be a factor in its steady predicted growth over the next five years.

Predicted Growth

As more people become interested and aware of speciality coffee, the amount of people drinking coffee out of home will increase. Existing international chains will continue to influence the expansion of domestic brands looking to maintain their place in the market.

For a set of countries where coffee is an embedded part of their culture, the average consumption itself may not change, but people are likely to adapt their drinking habits – either by choosing a more high-quality coffee, or by drinking their coffee outside of home, in a more sociable environment.


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Source: © Allegra World Coffee Portal

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