Switzerland Has Been Stockpiling Coffee Since WWI, And Now Wants To Stop

There's trouble brewing in Switzerland for its coffee stockpiles.

The European nation of 8.42 million people, has been stockpiling food -- including coffee -- since the First and Second World Wars in case of shortages.

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The country currently has about 15,300 tonnes of coffee beans stockpiled, enough to last the country three months at its current consumption rate -- which is about nine kilograms a person per year.

Fifteen companies in Switzerland, such as Nescafe, have been required by Swiss law to store bags of raw coffee.

Nescafe factory in Orbe, Switzerland. Image: Getty Images

But that is about to end, with the Swiss government planning to phase out the practice by 2022.

According to the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) a review into the country's stockpiles found that coffee is not "essential for life".

"Coffee contains almost no calories and therefore does not make any contribution to food security from a nutritional point of view," it said in a statement.

Image: Getty Images

There is some good news for the Swiss, because according to the report, Switzerland is not in danger of running out of coffee any time soon.

Due to the "distribution of cultivation areas on three continents" that can produce coffee all year round, the report argues a shortage of supply of Swiss coffee would be topped up by imports.

"It can be assumed that any temporary partial import interruption with the raw material and finished products inventories of Swiss roasters and dealers could easily be caught over a few weeks," the FONES said.

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Image: Getty Images

But not all are impressed with this new finding.

Reservesuisse, an organisation that oversees Switzerland's food stockpiles, has argued that of the 15 companies that hold mandatory stockpiles, 12 want to continue.

“Stockpile operators’ concerns clearly show that the one-sided review and weighting of calories as the main criteria for a vital staple did not do justice to coffee,” Reservesuisse wrote in a letter seen by Reuters.

A final decision is expected in November.

With Reuters.