• Transform magazine
  • July 04, 2020


Family (and friends) rebrands UK's leading ethical coffee brand

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According to the British Coffee Association, the UK drinks around 55 million cups of coffee each day. While this seems an excessive amount, it pales in comparison to the 2 billion cups consumed, daily, around the world. Coffee is, and looks to remain, the world’s most popular drink. Yet, despite the continued growth of a café culture and takeaway coffee consumption across the UK, the British Coffee Association suggests that 80% of citizens purchase instant coffee to drink at home.

Leading roast and ground coffee brand Cafédirect recognises the importance of providing the instant coffee market with both taste and provenance through its latest rebrand, carried out by London-based branding agency Family (and friends).

Founded in 1991 as a community-driven response to the devastating slump in coffee bean production, Cafédirect has an established presence in the Fairtrade market. Indeed, it founded the movement through its work to provide its farmers and growers with a significant cut of the turnover. Now reinvesting 50% of its profits into the Cafédirect Producers’ Foundation, a UK-based charity run by farmers, for farmers, the brand works across coffee-growing markets to help workers drive crop quality and improve their livelihoods.

The brand recently topped the Good Shopping Guide ethical index for tea and coffee, ahead of the likes of Kenco and the Co-operative – both companies which claim Fairtrade as a key aspect of their respective business models. “Everything we do at Cafédirect is about achieving the ridiculously good for everyone – quality, taste and business,” says Lorraine Kelleher, brand director at Cafédirect. However, research found that for consumers, equating a brand with ‘ethical’ does not necessarily equate a brand with ‘taste.’

Derek Johnston, director of strategy at Family (and friends), says, “Our target consumer is very fussy about coffee and doesn’t tend to believe that ‘ethical’ can satisfy their taste.” So, Family (and friends) made it its mission to prove as many coffee-drinkers wrong as possible. Led by the belief that ‘Only ridiculously good business can produce ridiculously good coffee,’ the tagline ‘Ridiculously good’ was formulated. Family (and friends) then crafted a brand strategy, packaging design and external communications around Cafédirect’s mission – to provide ethical coffee and tea, without compromising the drinking experience.

Using images of the locations from which Cafedirect’s coffee is sourced, as well as a bold colour palette linking coffee bean with source, Family (and friends) connects the coffee’s social journey with the finished product. And, while a renewed brand language appeals to the consumer’s sense of adventure, the final packaging and logo design uses premium cues to reflect the intrinsic quality of the brand’s coffee. Alex Durbridge, creative director at Family (and friends), says, “[The design is] intended to be something of a beacon and an inspiring symbol of aiming higher; above and beyond the average.”

John Steel, CEO of Cafedirect, says, “Working with Family (and friends) has been an outstanding experience and we are extremely excited about the result. The proposition development and subsequent representation powerfully communicates the benefit of Cafédirect’s unique business model.”

The first company to receive the coveted Fairtrade certification, Cafédirect has pioneered quality and provenance since before any other UK coffee and tea retailer. The brand has had its setbacks and challenges, but almost 30 years later, this same ethical direction continues to inform the Cafédirect brand.


Café Direct rebrand from F&f on Vimeo.