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Finding Your Match Online?

Interpersonal communications is not what it used to be. At least, that is, in terms of how people meet, greet, and stay in touch. Technology has opened up a world of advanced possibilities for finding, connecting and communicating – whether with friends, colleagues, fellow hobbyists, vendors, sales prospects, or others. While the variety of new channels can make interaction less personal, it certainly enables communication to be more precisely targeted than ever before.

The same holds true for job hunting. While online search has been around for some time, more avenues are being opened up for highly targeted matches between job seekers and employers. Professional associations are hosting job boards that link job seekers and positions within the functions or industries they serve. Many organizations also enable job seekers to register and apply directly on their websites. Other, independent job search services collect jobs in the arts, philanthropic organizations, public interest, and other special targets.

But, there has never been a job board targeted to coffee professionals – until today. The National Coffee Association has just launched the NCA Career Center. It’s an interactive job board that zeroes in on coffee industry companies, professionals and related disciplines. It’s a resource that will cover all professional roles – from barista to commodities trader, roast master to packaging chemist, food service professional to logistics executive, and so on – as long as there is a genuine connection to coffee.

The NCA Career Center will be available both to NCA members and non-members to reach qualified candidates from a highly targeted talent pool. Employers can post jobs online, search for qualified candidates based on specific job criteria and create an online resume agent to email qualified candidates daily. Employers can also access online reporting, which provides job activity statistics to track each job posting’s Return on Investment (ROI).

For job seekers, the NCA Career Center is a free service, delivering access to employers and jobs across all industry sectors, roles and related functions. Job seekers can browse and view jobs using criteria they choose to align with their individual career goals. They can also upload their resumes confidentially to the site. Also, they can search anonymously by creating a Job Agent that notifies them via email when jobs matching their criteria are posted. That eliminates the need to check their accounts daily to track new postings.

So, are you a professional in a coffee-related role, or do you know one? Are you looking for a highly qualified individual with targeted skills and experience, but the resumes you’re finding are all over the map?

Then, the NCA Career Center gives you a new channel, dedicated to the connections you want to make. Bringing technology to a new target audience, it’s not only a new way to communicate but also a better way to connect. Whether job seeker or job poster, the process will be easier and more effective.

Will you find your match online? “Yes” has just become a more likely answer.

The GMO Mojo

Voters in Washington state Tuesday rejected a ballot initiative that would have required the labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs). The measure was defeated by a 55 to 45 percent split, ending a move that would have made Washington the nation’s first state to require GMO labeling. A similar measure, Proposition 37, was defeated in California last year.

Currently, 70-80% of the nation’s food and beverage products include ingredients produced using genetic modification (GM) technology. These products have been part of the food supply for over 20 years. Essentially, farmers and food manufacturers use GM technology to add desirable traits from one plant to another without adding unnatural substances or chemicals.

Nationally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets standards for food labeling based on extensive scientific review. The FDA does not require GMO foods to be labeled because it has found neither health risks nor any material difference between GM and non-GM foods. Other U.S. regulatory agencies that study and monitor food safety concur, and many scientific bodies, such as the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and the National Academy of Sciences, have also concluded that foods and beverages containing GM ingredients are materially no different than foods without them.

State Initiatives
However, several states have introduced ballot initiatives to create state-based labeling requirements, which could conflict with FDA standards. In addition to the Washington and California proposals, efforts are underway for a 2014 measure on the ballot in Oregon. One state, Connecticut, has actually passed a labeling measure, but it is severely limited by a requirement that its provisions cannot go into effect unless similar measures are passed in several contiguous states.

Of course, state-by-state measures would be a special burden on commerce. If requirements differ from state to state, packaging would need to vary across state lines. Federal legislation that would create a national standard, with the FDA as the chief safety arbiter, would be a better alternative.

European Union
In the EU, all GMOs are deemed “new foods,” which must go through an extensive, case-by-case evaluation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), roughly equivalent to the FDA in the US. EFSA’s recommendations must go to the European Commission, which then drafts proposals for granting or refusing authorization. The proposals, in turn, are submitted to the Commission’s standing committee on food safety. If accepted, the authorization can be adopted by the EC outright or through a review and vote by its Council of Agricultural Ministers.

Each EU member state also has the right to restrict or prohibit the use or sale of GMOs within their borders. In each case, the EC is then required to investigate the matter. Further adjudication, if needed, is completed by state or EU courts. The EU has approved about 50 GMOs foods so far.

For GMO foods entering the EU, regulations are aimed at providing freedom of choice to consumers. All food containing greater than 0.9% of approved GMOs must be labeled.

Sipping Your Risk Away?

A cascade of scientific studies has linked coffee with a reduced risk of diabetes for more than a decade. Scientists in China recently used a strong, representative sample to pull it all together. They culled data from over a million individuals, and integrated and re-examined results to yield an even larger picture. In technical terms, the process is called a “meta-analysis” but, in practice, it’s like doing a new study that is much wider in reach and broader in scope.

The conclusions confirmed what many scientists have been saying all along – that there is an inverse relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of developing diabetes. In laymen’s terms, that means that as coffee consumption goes up, the risk of diabetes comes down.

Pooling data from 30 studies, the Qingdao University team concluded that, on average, coffee appears to reduce the risk of developing diabetes by about one-third. Put another way, they affirmed a 12% decrease in risk for every two cups of coffee consumed.

The Chinese study’s unique contribution is a conclusion based on high-quality studies and a very large subject pool. Reviewing only “prospective studies,” which examine behaviors and outcomes going forward rather than recording past events, the team eliminated risks of hazy recall and subject selection bias that other types of studies allow. That makes the outcomes a broad confirmation of what many scientists have found individually since about 2002.

Decade of Evidence
The literature from which the new study was drawn is extensive. Scores of studies from around the world have all come to the same conclusion – that coffee appears to have a protective effect against diabetes that has something to do with the sugar uptake system in the body. The specific “pathways” vary, but they now appear to point to the same chemical source – the chlorogenic acids found naturally in coffee.

The link between coffee and reduced diabetes risk dates back to a Dutch study done in 2002. Scientists at Vrije University in Amsterdam found that men and women who drank seven cups of coffee a day were half as likely to develop the disease as those who drank two cups or fewer. In 2003, a Harvard study confirmed the findings, finding that men who drank six or more cups of coffee a day had a 54% lower risk of becoming diabetic, while those who drank four or more cups showed a 29% lower risk. At this stage in the research history, scientists looked to caffeine as the source, citing the effect it has on human energy expenditure. But, they also noted that other coffee compounds, including potassium, niacin and magnesium, might positively affect sugar metabolism.

In 2004, a Finnish study found that men who drank three to four cups of coffee a day reduced their diabetes risk by 27%, while women did so by 29%. The more they drank, the higher was the protection, too – men who drank 10 or more cups reducing their risk by 55% and women by 80%. Later that year, a Swedish study also found a lower diabetes risk among heavier coffee drinkers. Men who drank five or more cups a day showed a 40% lower incidence than those who consumed two or fewer cups. For women, the risk reduction was 74% for those who drank five or more cups versus two or less.

The next year found NCA joining with European colleagues to fund two studies to dig deeper into the intriguing data. The American study explored glucose uptake in rats, with results showing that the risk reduction was unique to coffee and not caffeine, with decaf demonstrating the same protective effect. In the European study, coffee’s effect on human glucose tolerance and gastrointestinal hormones was studied, and results showed a positive effect on blood glucose levels that was linked to the availability and chemical action of chlorogenic acids in coffee.

The University of Minnesota was next with a study that found diabetes risk reduction among postmenopausal women – 22% for six or more cups, 16% for four to five cups, and 4% for one to three. Decaf results were even stronger, suggesting that a unique coffee compound was at work. Those drinking six plus cups of decaf saw a 34% reduction in risk, 41% at four to five cups and 2% at one to three. Caffeine alone yielded no protective effect. The researchers now looked to chlorogenic acid as the root of the protection, reducing glucose absorption or inhibiting liver hormone activity. The scientists also pointed to other powerful antioxidant properties , which can protect certain pancreatic cells from damage or promote insulin sensitivity, thereby delaying or preventing diabetes onset.

Later that year, a study at the University of California at San Diego expanded evidence by finding a risk reduction among pre-diabetic subjects that was even stronger than for those with normal fasting blood sugar levels. Pre-diabetics exhibited a 69% reduced risk of developing diabetes, while those with normal sugar levels showed a 62% reduced risk.

Other, more recent studies, have added to the body of evidence. In 2011, researchers at Nagoya University in Japan found that coffee and caffeine improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in rats whose glucose tolerance had been impaired by diet. The findings enhance prior evidence that coffee and caffeine help regulate hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, in spontaneously diabetic animals.

Earlier this year, Brazilian scientists concluded that coffee reduces blood sugar and cholesterol levels associated with diabetes. The study looked at the impact of coffee on diabetic and non-diabetic rats, finding that the rats who drank coffee had lower levels of glucose, triglycerides, total cholesterol, creatinine, uric acid and other metabolic markers – for example a 40% decrease in levels of triglycerides and 31% for urea. Looking at the mechanisms behind the protection, the researchers cited the inhibition of sugar transporters by chlorogenic acid and sodium, and other compounds that impact glucose levels. They also noted that coffee is packed with polyphenols, strong antioxidant compounds that reduce the cellular damage by free radicals which, in turn, plays a role in the development of insulin resistance and diabetes.

So, just like the Chinese scientists, if you put all this data together, you come up with a very intriguing conclusion. While the root cause is still not totally understood, the consensus on the impact is extensive. So, next time you’re sipping your coffee, think about the time, effort, energy, talent, and even geographic reach of the work that’s been done, and how all the evidence leads to the same place. The force of science is with you if think you’re sipping your risk away.

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On The Table

This morning, did you sip a Sidamo from Ethiopia, hit back a Huehuetenango from Guatemala, or maybe tipple a Tarrazù from Costa Rica? Did your coffee come from Africa, Asia or South America?

These single-origin coffees, alongside current industry issues, were on the table in Washington this week. NCA brought coffee – the beverage and the business – to the halls of Congress. At the biennial NCA Coffee on the Hill event, members joined members of Congress, their staff members, foreign diplomats and executive branch personnel to meet, greet , enjoy coffee and discuss related issues.

Coffee on the Hill is an event designed to afford NCA members an opportunity to interface with their legislators and legislative staffs to discuss industry-wide as well as local issues affecting their business. The event also puts the U.S. coffee industry front and center in the eyes and ears – not to mention palates – of government decision makers and influencers. Also invited to the event are diplomats and diplomatic staffs of coffee-producing countries, as well as Executive Branch officials from agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The October 23 event took place in the Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. The building is one of several that house offices of members of the House of Representatives and Senate. The tables were lined with pots of freshly brewed and served coffee, identified by their country of origin. Along with the brewed coffee, samples of the green beans and roasted beans were also on display.

Bringing a flavor of a different kind to the event were demonstrations of “cupping” and “pourover” coffee preparation. Cupping is the process by which highly trained experts taste coffees to determine their flavor profiles for the purposes of buying coffee beans or for determining which coffees to use in a roaster’s proprietary blends. Pourover is the latest craze in coffee brewing, consisting of deceptively simple-looking equipment used with great precision and expertise. The filters are wet with 200 degree water, freshly ground coffee is added, a quick water soaking is administered followed by a timed pause to allow the coffee to de-gas, which increases its absorptive properties, the remaining water is filtered through the grinds, and finally the coffee is robustly swirled in the carafe to homogenize the extraction outcomes.

Visitors to the event also received a detailed primer on the significance of the coffee industry to the U.S. and world economies, as well as a description of the key issues currently facing the coffee business. This year’s highlighted issues included: Congressional acknowledgment of the distinction between coffee consumption and caffeine ingestion in energy products at a time when government officials take a look at overall caffeine consumption; Congressional support for U.S. agricultural programs that support sustainability; Congressional funding of the Foreign Agricultural Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (FAS) and USAID to support efforts promoting coffee production that sustains farmers and the coffee supply chain; Congressional support for federal legislation that would establish a national standard that affirms the safety of foods developed using bioengineering technologies; Congressional dedication to working toward the passage of Free Trade Agreements with other nations and support for treaty provisions that would confer U.S. origin on coffee roasted in the U.S.; and continued Congressional commitment to an active role for the U.S. as a member of the International Coffee Organization (ICO). NCA is part of the official United States delegation to the ICO.

The event attracted about 500 participants, including several members of Congress and foreign dignitaries. Coffees on hand included those from Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Hawaii, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Rwanda.

So, next time you sip that Sidamo or tipple that Tarrazù, you may well ponder on the universe of individuals, nations, cooperative processes and governmental issues that make up the world of coffee. Perhaps, too, you’ll reflect not only on the complexity of the flavor, but also the complexity behind its arrival in your cup.

 

 

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What Kind of Brewer Are You?

Did you make coffee this morning? If so, what kind of brewer are you? A purist with a French press? A discriminating consumer using a drip coffee maker, perhaps with freshly-ground whole beans? Maybe you went cutting edge with a new pourover, Chemex or even glass titrating apparatus?

Or, are you a trend-savvy early adopter who brewed an individual cup using single-cup brewer? Statistically, one in five of you did – so says new market research from NCA.

Indeed, 20% of daily coffee drinkers said they made their coffee in a single-cup brewer. NCA’s newly published Single-Cup Format: Another Year of Growth and Impact, says that’s up from just 7% who used a single-cup brewer in 2010. At the same time, daily drinkers who use traditional drip coffee makers fell from 77% in 2010 to 58% in 2013.

If you own a single-cup brewer, you’re also in good company. Statistically, 12% of coffee drinkers do, up from 10% last year and just 4% in 2007. Awareness has soared, up to 82% versus 71% last year. If you’re in the market for one, you’re part of 17% of aware consumers who plan to purchase one in the next six months, up from just 7% in 2007.

Variety and Visibility
Drivers of the popularity of the single-cup brewing format appear to be convenience and variety. Often, making a full pot of coffee can be a time concern for the morning routine, or yields more coffee than you need. Convenience has been an important factor in consumer choices that plays out in other NCA tracking studies.

Syncing with other NCA market research, another driver of single-cup popularity is the ease of sampling a variety of coffee options. Over the last decade, consumers have told NCA they’ve become more aware of the expanding menu of available coffee options, and they appear to have an insatiable appetite to sample them. The marketplace appears to have enormous elasticity, as consumers seek out more options and look to different coffees to fill various roles throughout their day. Single-cup brewers give consumers an easy option for sampling a wide variety of coffees, even multiple ones at any given time.

Anecdotally, just take a look on supermarket and retailer shelves. The space that’s now being devoted to coffee in various capsule formats is huge. Also, appliance sellers, big-box retailers and even home furnishing retailers are creating new space to display and sell the capsules. Clearly, the marketplace is reflecting what NCA market research is measuring.

Other Data
Other data in the report span a wide array of factors related to single-cup brewer usage. Among the detailed tracking data relating to usage are: purchase intent, gifting trends and intent, time owned, usage by age group, types of beverage made, time of day, cups per day, share of coffee, and attitudes toward quality, value and convenience.

You can learn more about Single-Cup Format: Another Year of Growth and Impact and other National Coffee Drinking Trendspublications at www.ncausa.org.

Information or Knowledge?

Smart business people keep up with best practices. It’s a competitive must and emblem of personal and professional pride. There’s always something new to learn. And, increasingly, there are more and more ways to seek it out. It’s a long and growing list that includes conferences, online courses, e-seminars, podcasts, and more. Just check your email inbox, and you’ll probably find more than one a day.

But information alone is not always enough. Facts, figures and presentations can make you more informed. But, information doesn’t always become knowledge. Often, it’s not what you know that counts, but how you put it to work to make changes, reach goals and solve problems.

That’s the premise behind the NCA Coffee Summit, which was held last week in Philadelphia. It’s a hybrid learning platform that combines traditional education with collaborative thinking and “open space” engagement. The facts and figures are filtered through the prism of the expertise and experience of fellow professionals. The output is knowledge that’s ready to put into play to solve nettling problems you face each day.

Say you’re a small café owner who wants to deliver a new coffee experience to customers. Or, a micro-roaster who wants to promote sustainable coffees. Or perhaps a maker of coffee-related accessories who needs to keep on top of consumption patterns and brewing trends?

The NCA Coffee Summit is designed to bring together diverse professionals from up and down the coffee “supply chain.” Bringing a spectrum of perspective to each discussion, participants mold raw information into workable strategies to solve real-time business challenges. In this way, participants can attack individual challenges from the different angles that come from their different business roles and functions. In turn, participants can go home with strategies and solutions that have been put through the business filter of professionals who know how things work.

Program
This year’s Summit teed up three topics with special currency – sustainability, the single-serve format and risk management. Four, short presentations on the topics were followed by opportunities to interact with the expert speakers, as well as brainstorm on the topic with other attendees.

The Summit also featured a collaborative Learning Exchange. Three broad questions were raised by the professional facilitator to spark thinking and discussion on the topics. Each table of 10 participants captured their collective thoughts on flip charts, which were posted publicly for all to review. After each question, participants were shuffled to maximize attendee interaction.

Another important element of the Summit’s design is “open space” discussion. Two sessions were held, during which participants were encouraged to pose their own “big questions” to engage others in problem-solving discussions. The sessions are designed to cull the expertise and perspective of colleagues who share your concerns, and put them into play to tackle your problems. Often, insights emerge when issues are approached from the viewpoints of those who fill different roles along the supply chain.

Interactions among the participants were dynamic and fruitful. The group generated over 100 pages of flip-chart notes, which will be shared with all attendees as well as transcribed into a report. Speaker presentations will also be made available.

Clearly, the NCA Coffee Summit is a dynamic PD choice for coffee professionals in all functions and sectors. It’s a chance to explore industry issues, get your big questions answered, and go home with some practical solutions.

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Is Coffee Liver’s Firewall?

The research is rampant with evidence about coffee’s protective effects on the liver. Numerous studies from around the world have come to the same conclusion – coffee somehow shields the liver from inflammatory damage and the diseases that can result.

Over the last decade, researchers have found that coffee reduces the risk of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, fibrosis and liver cancer. Reduced risk of liver disease also carries through for higher risk individuals, such as those with diabetes, iron overload, obesity, viral hepatitis and high alcohol consumption. Researchers also found that coffee reduces the risk of liver cancer, including among those with risk factors such as pre-existing cirrhosis or hepatitis.

To boil complex chemistry down to a simple analogy, coffee appears to act as a “firewall” that blocks an enzyme implicated in liver disease. The name – alanine aminotransferase – may be hard to pronounce, but the impact appears clear. And, the compound in coffee that seems to deliver the punch is a strong antioxidant called chlorogenic acid.

Fatty Liver Disease
The latest study on the subject is a review paper from scientists in Turkey. Scouring the literature, the researchers confirm that coffee intake appears to reduce the risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Metabolic Syndrome (MetS), a condition that can lead to NAFLD.

All of the literature was in agreement – there is an inverse relationship between coffee intake and NAFLD. That means coffee consumption is linked to reducing the risk for the development of NAFLD. The preponderance of evidence also found that coffee reduces the risk of MetS.

As for the source of the protection, the scientists cited coffee’s strong antioxidant properties. In fact, several coffee components appear to scavenge free radicals, which in turn could contribute to the development of NAFLD. However, the researchers also cite an independent protective effect on the liver delivered by caffeine.

Complex Chemistry
In presenting their findings, the researchers noted that coffee is a very complex beverage made up of about 1,500 components. They include many antioxidants and other physiologically active compounds. It’s a long list that includes phenolic polymers, polysaccharides, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, cafestol, kahweol, and minerals. Interestingly, caffeine accounts for just 1% of what’s in the brew.

So, the next time you have that morning mug of coffee, you’ll know you’re sipping a complex beverage that may pack a powerful punch of protection for your liver. Is your firewall engaged?

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Coffee for the Ages?

Are you with it? Do you keep up with your peers? If we’re talking coffee, there’s an easy way to find out.

If you’re a “Millennial,” you’d be one of the 78% who say they drink coffee. You may also be among the 47% who say they do so each day.

Your peer group is bigger if you’re part of Generation X. Eighty-five percent say they’re coffee drinkers, 68% of them sipping daily. Among Baby Boomers, 86% say they enjoy coffee, 72% of them each day. If you’re a more mature consumer, then you may be one of the 90% who tip a mug to coffee or even among the 80% who do so daily.

These data come from NCA’s annual National Coffee Drinking Trends (NCDT) consumer survey. This week, NCA is releasing Coffee Across Generations, an NCDT series report that digs deeply into the differences in habits, behaviors and attitudes of consumers of the widely recognized generational age groupings.

By the way, if you’re like most of us, by now you’re wondering where you fit in. Here’s the statistical scoop. Standard demographic descriptions make you a Millennial if you were born between 1979 and 1997, while GenXers date back to between 1965 and 1978, while Baby Boomers came on the scene between 1946 and 1964.

Other Data
If you prefer gourmet coffee beverages, your peer groups differ. While overall coffee consumption skews older, gourmet coffee beverage consumption trends younger. Seventy-four percent of Millennials said they’ve consumed a gourmet coffee beverage within the past year. That compares with 72% of GenXers, 59% of Baby Boomers, and 53% of the more mature.

When it comes to brewing, there are generational distinctions as well. Younger consumers are more apt to jump on the single-cup bandwagon, with a larger number saying they’d be likely to buy one. The more mature groups are more likely to use a drip coffee maker, while younger coffee drinkers say they prefer espresso machines and ready-to-drink coffee.

Specifically, 62% of the more mature group says they use a drip coffee maker, compared with 53% of Millennials. And, even though 90% of matures say they’re aware of single-cup brewers versus 76% of Millennials, about one-quarter of Millennials and GenXers say they’d be likely to buy a single-cup brewer, whereas just 12% of Baby Boomers and 8% of the more mature said the same.

Other data in the report span a wide array of consumption choices, patterns, frequency and attitudes. The detailed tracking data broken out by group includes: consumption time of day, share of cups of gourmet versus non-gourmet coffee, home versus out-of home consumption, place of preparation and consumption, breakouts of coffee types and gourmet sub-types, coffee additive preferences, coffee and health attitudes, workplace coffee satisfaction, packaging format, and, for single-cup brewers, the time owned, types of beverages made, and quality attitudes.

So, when you pick up that next cup of coffee, you’ll have a better idea of where you fit in – that is, when it comes to your coffee drinking habits. Even better, if you’re a marketer, you’ll know who to target and how. That’s where the value of market research moves from personal discovery to professional development and commercial success. Learn more about Coffee Across Generations and other National Coffee Drinking Trends market research reports at www.ncausa.org.

New Report: Coffee Cuts Endometrial Cancer Risk

A newly released scientific report links coffee with a protective effect against endometrial cancer. The report, published this week by the American Institute for Cancer Research and World Cancer Research Fund International, says that coffee drinking is one of several lifestyle and diet changes that can help women prevent the disease, also known as uterine cancer.

Analyzing results from eight independent scientific studies, the report concludes that one cup of coffee per day is associated with a 7% decreased risk of developing the disease. All of the analyzed studies found a decreased risk for higher versus lower levels of coffee consumption.

The report also noted the findings of two other published meta-analyses that found a statistically significant decreased risk of endometrial cancer for the highest coffee drinkers as compared with the lowest. A meta-analysis is a study that incorporates data from multiple pieces of research to amplify the scope and statistical significance of the findings.

The analysis also examined several pieces of research on decaffeinated coffee. The cumulative results showed that there was an overall 8% decreased risk of endometrial cancer per one cup per day.

According to the AARP Blog, endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system, and the 49,600 annual cases outnumber ovarian and cervical cancers combined. Endometrial cancer primarily affects women over age 60, and claims 8,000 lives each year.

Mechanisms
The report also discussed how coffee might deliver the protection they found. Several “mechanisms” were suggested, including the work of several of the chemical compounds found in coffee. Among them is chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to have strong antioxidant properties that can prevent damage to DNA, as well as improve insulin sensitivity and inhibit sugar uptake in the intestines.

The impact on sugar uptake is significant because excess insulin has been associated with the growth of endometrial cancer cells. Both regular and decaffeinated coffees have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and so reduce insulin levels in the blood. Other, indirect mechanisms were also discussed, such as coffee’s suppression of a hormone that elevates estrogen levels in the blood.

Other Factors
Other factors cited in the report for reducing the risk of endometrial cancer include regular exercise, weight maintenance and avoidance of sugary drinks. The report notes that there is a strong link between obesity and cancer that is especially strong for endometrial cancer. Dr. Elisa Bandera, a Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey epidemiologist who helped lead the study, noted in an NBC News interview that obese women have two to three times the rate of endometrial cancer.

The report says that three out of every five cases of the disease could be prevented if women kept a healthy weight, got at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, avoided sugary drinks and processed snack foods, and drank coffee.

Conclusion
The authors of the report – World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research, Continuous Update Project Report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Endometrial Cancer, 2013 – state as their conclusion that “There is a substantial amount of epidemiological evidence, which is consistent, and there is a dose-response relationship. There is evidence for biological plausibility. Coffee probably protects against endometrial cancer.”

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Defining Sustainability

With climate change and environmental disasters such as the Fukushima reactor meltdown and the Gulf oil spill making international headlines, “sustainability” has become a media buzzword. It’s also bandied about in connection with agricultural methods that preserve the land, market conditions that enable producers to support their families and cultures, and technologies that foster a healthy supply of quality products.

It’s also being discussed in probably every boardroom of every major corporation in the U.S. and beyond. There is enormous pressure on industries to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability as a key element of responsible corporate citizenship. As the public becomes ever more aware of cultural, environmental and socioeconomic issues in the developing world, the pressure to deploy sustainable programs and strategies continues to ramp up.

But, what does “sustainability” really mean? You’ve probably heard the word at least 100 times already this month, or read it in online or in print media without giving its fundamental definition a second thought.

Generation Y’s preferred source for quick information – Wikipedia – simply and dismissively defines “sustainability” as: “the capacity to endure.” However, the grammarians and scholars at Merriam-Webster go much further, defining “sustainable” (from which “sustainability” is derived) as: “relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.”

Merriam-Webster’s definition is appropriately open-ended since “resource” can include people, the land, the environment, natural resources, cultures and social institutions. It also embraces the many individual elements that comprise the concept. For the coffee industry and its executives, the definition embraces the crucial components of a sustainable coffee supply chain – the well-being of farmers, long-term support for their families and communities, safe and healthy agricultural methods and outcomes, and an ample supply of quality coffees produced in a responsible way.

Barring some dramatic societal and cultural shifts, there will always be a consumer demand for coffee. However, ongoing environmental and natural threats in coffee-producing regions, such as the specter of coffee rust which is currently plaguing Central America, are serious threats to the long-term health of coffee production. Thus, it’s our responsibility to ensure a sustainable supply of quality coffees for years to come. That is the underlying goal of NCA’s sustainability initiatives – to ensure the future of the coffee industry.

NCA has brought sustainability into sharper focus in 2013, developing the following mission statement earlier this year:

Ensure that coffee is grown and traded in a way which ensures that future generations can be sustained economically, environmentally, and socially through its production.

This summer, NCA initiated a Sustainability Task Force of industry professionals to help develop potential goals and action points.

At the meeting, participants from the private sector, non-governmental agencies (NGOs) and non-profit groups met in NCA’s New York offices to start the ball rolling. The goal was to gather input and exchange ideas, and address several basic questions. What does sustainability mean to you? How can NCA help you achieve your sustainable development goals and objectives?

Going forward, the task force will convene periodically, seeking to define NCA’s role more precisely as a facilitator and center of knowledge for coffee sustainability. In the meantime, NCA is working on developing an online toolkit of information, knowledge and resources for those with questions and concerns about sustainable growth.

As a matter of policy, NCA plans to use its role as the U.S. coffee industry’s pre-eminent trade association to collaborate with industry leaders and promote the long-term sustainable growth and development of the coffee industry. NCA is committed to continuing to work to ensure that coffee production is carried out in a way that future generations can be sustained economically, environmentally and socially through its production, in line with NCA’s sustainability mission.

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