While grain-based foods has a relationship of sorts with every other sector of the food business, the tie between the industry and coffee is seen as less pronounced than for other foods like meat, poultry, dairy and even vegetables. It is the fairly loose tie with coffee, though, that suddenly appears on the verge of rapid change. Driving this prospect is the way that the global coffee business is undergoing an ownership shift that rivals the ownership changes and consolidations under way in milling and baking. Beyond dramatic transformation of the industry itself is the internationalization of coffee brands and their marketing and sales under the aegis of two firms.

Just announced was the merger of the coffee business of Mondelez International Inc., a company that has biscuits and crackers as one of its major product lines, with D.E Master Blenders 1753 BV, itself a newly formed coffee enterprise with particular brand and marketing strength in Europe and newly-acquired positions in the United States. This merger with Mondelez coffee creates an enterprise that is expected to pose a challenge to Nestle S.A., long the global leader in the coffee market and also the world’s largest food manufacturer.

It doesn’t take much imagination to believe that this competitive environment will make for a different coffee business and also will have a strong impact on grain-based foods. As these two giants battle for coffee business, the role of grain-based foods as a real stimulus to sales can only appreciably expand.