Kafferosteriet Löfbergs is one of the Nordic region's largest coffee roasteries and one of Sweden's most famous family companies. With the head office located in Karlstad, more than a hundred tonnes of coffee are roasted here every day, which is enough for just over 10 million cups of coffee.
Löfbergs has about 350 employees and a turnover of close to a whopping SEK 2 billion.
The core markets of Löfbergs are Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and the United Kingdom.
The company is owned by third and fourth generations of the Löfberg family, and the chairman of the board is Kathrine Löfberg. Evidently proving, the passion for coffee culture and good coffee and, the commitment to sustainability and justice has existed in this family from the very beginning.
Let's get into the major developments over the years.
Löfbergs was founded in 1906 by the brothers Anders, John, and Josef Löfberg. It was a wholesale company, and the brothers traded in many different groceries, which coincidently included coffee.
In 1911, the practice of roasting one's own coffee started becoming popular. At this time, each store had its own mills, and all coffee was delivered as whole beans. As purple-colored coffee has been around since the 1920s, it was packaged in different colored bags to separate it from other blends. Löfbergs Lyxblandning number 35, the coffee in the purple packaging, became the most popular blend. In folklore, this coffee was called "Löfbergs Lila."
Around the end of the 1920s, Löfbergs was split up, and Anders Löfberg took over the coffee business. At the beginning of the century, many of the classic patisseries were founded, and they quickly became popular among the local population as they served coffee. Even in the small towns, more and more people are started to "go to the gym" just to have coffee, and the interwar period became Sweden's great fitness era. Due to all of these factors, the habit of drinking coffee flourished.
During the war years in the early 1940s, coffee was being rationed out in Sweden. Löfbergs was responsible for maintaining a well-monitored crisis stock of coffee in Karlstad. Additionally, the company worked with various enterprises during the war years. Afterward, the coffee range was further refined, and all packaging was changed to the beloved purple.
In the 1950s, Löfbergs Lila expanded and became a nationwide brand, and shops with their own distribution services opened all over the country. A subsidiary, AB Löf-Eda verken, started manufacturing coffee machines for commercial kitchens. The self-service stores came through and were heavily advertised. Consequently, Löfberg's coffee with the purple color had a strong impact, and production began to grow from the premises.
In 1960, a completely new modern roastery was inaugurated, the "coffee scraper," which became a new landmark due to its location in the middle of Karlstad. The smell of coffee spread throughout the city and beckoned people in. Vacuum packaging was developed, which meant that the coffee's aroma and taste were preserved and thus stayed fresh much longer.
In the 60s, Löfbergs had new branch offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Norrköping and Gävle.
When the television invaded the residential home, everyone started having more coffee at home instead of going out. And thus, the TV jug or the thermos became popular to serve hot coffee in.
Löfbergs was and still is competitive and committed to coffee wholeheartedly, and, in addition to coffee machines, also manufactured coffee cans and carrier bags.
Fun fact: Löfbergs also has its own airline, ABAL Air , an advertising agency, and a cargo ship, Margareta.
Then came the 1970s; the electric brewer made his breakthrough, and Löfbergs invested in new mixtures, roasts, and mills. The sponsorship collaboration with Färjestads BK began. During this period, many businesses were sold off, and the company concentrated on the coffee business.
During the 1980s, the company started investing in catering, i.e., coffee for hotels, restaurants, and cafés. New brewing methods such as the vacuum brewer, French press, and percolator were emerging in homes. Löfbergs Lila's freeze-dried instant coffee was launched, and a real estate company was established. A new advertising strategy came at the end of the decade, "Coffee with the extra purple."
In the early 1990s, Löfbergs Lila became the first to manufacture aluminum-free but still oxygen-tight coffee packaging. It was a successful investment and set a whole new standard for the entire Swedish coffee industry. Löfbergs Lila was also the first company to sell KRAV-labeled organic coffee and has, throughout the years, driven the development in terms of environmental and sustainability issues in the coffee industry.
Then Löfbergs added another feather to its cap and started exporting coffee. Sales to the Baltics had begun, after which the Norwegian subsidiary Löfbergs Lila AS had been established. The company also started selling water by the brand name "Stråssa Källa."
The international expansion continued, and during the 2000s, Löfberg's coffee was served in IKEA department stores worldwide. Fairtrade coffee and Katapult iced coffee were also launched. The Italian coffee trend that offers espresso, cappuccino and latte gave coffee drinking and cafés a significant boost.
The International Coffee Partners was formed on the initiative of Löfbergs, together with other family-owned coffee roasteries from different countries. Löfbergs also became a partner in the Danish coffee roastery Peter Larsen Kaffe A / S. Löfbergs was one of the few companies in Sweden that trademarked the color purple. Isn't that fascinating?
The 100th anniversary was celebrated with grandeur in 2006. Löfbergs entered an expansive period and acquired the Kobbs (tea) brand, the Crema coffee roastery in Sandefjord, Norway, and Melna, in Riga, Latvia.
In Karlstad and Stockholm, two coffee bars opened in the 2010s, where one could enjoy freshly roasted coffee.
Finally, 2021 marks Löfberg's 115th anniversary, and to celebrate, another roastery will be inaugurated in Karlstad. This roastery will specialize in producing whole beans, and the roasting takes place with a so-called slow roast, where coffee is roasted for a longer time and at a lower temperature than before.
In addition to Karlstad, the company currently roasts coffee in Viborg, Denmark (under the Peter Larsen Coffee brand) and in Riga, Latvia. Raw coffee is bought from certified farms in about 20 countries, and Löfbergs is currently one of the world's largest organic and Fairtrade-labeled coffee buyers. The company continues to be at the forefront of environmental and sustainability issues, ensuring coffee lovers enjoy the delicious drink however they prefer.