Drinking Coffee Lowers Suicide Risk: Good News for Starbucks

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If you were told that coffee lowers your risk of suicide, would you believe it? A new report in the Harvard Gazette talked up a July study and the end result is that coffee might somehow be considered one form of suicide prevention and discusses lower depression rates among coffee drinkers. We cannot help but wonder if companies like Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX), Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR), and others should jump all over this study to promote the benefits of coffee.

Apparently, drinking several cups of coffee each day is tied to a lower risk of suicide and it is noted that there are lower rates of depression among coffee drinkers. Its basis is that researchers have tied the impact of caffeine on brain chemicals playing a key role in this finding according to the Harvard Gazette. The study was published online July 2 in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, and the reduction in suicide risk is said to be down by about 50%.

Can you imagine how powerful this would be for marketing, particularly if consumers realized it was true and not just a hoax? “An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Several cups of coffee a day keeps you from offing yourself!”

This study is one that is actually in favor of coffee when many other studies have not been very favorable around short-term blood pressure spikes and adrenal fatigue. Today’s report said, “The authors reviewed data from three large U.S. studies and found that the risk of suicide for adults who drank two to four cups of caffeinated coffee per day was about half that of those who drank decaffeinated coffee or very little or no coffee.” We would also point out that the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry is not exactly a “coffee-funded entity” that produces favorable findings just because they were paid to go out and find some positive aspects of a product.

If you think about this study it does make some sense. That morning cup of Joe is often to help jumpstart your day or to give you an extra boost. If you are planning to off yourself, you might not be thinking about getting a pick-me-up fix to start your day off. Unfortunately, there have been reported suicides at coffee shops.

Starbucks has taken many new avenues. It bought Teavana, it is going after the yogurt market, and it has even been testing some form of a wine bar concept. Howard Schultz is certainly a strong CEO and he is considered a great front-man for the company on just about any metric that would be used in scoring CEO performance. Glassdoor.com even gives Schultz an 86% approval rating.

Schultz probably would not stoop to a marketing effort this low. That being said, if he won’t market this benefit of coffee someone else might.