I only want to induce some line of thought, to start off a possibly new track for those open minded and curious. To some of you these thoughts might have occurred already, as these are not new thoughts, but I'd like to point out that there must be something hidden from us, which reveals some weak points of our current way of life and our food supply chain, the capitalistic, profit oriented system in which we are forced to live.
Let's start with a simple question:
Why does ground coffee cost less than coffee beans themselves?
Surely, there's something wrong with this one. Ground coffee is coffee beans plus extra work carried out while grinding the beans. I remember a few decades ago in grocery stores you could only buy the beans, and there were those huge machines in which you could grind your own coffee. It's convenient to skip this one step, but how can ground coffee be cheaper for the customer than the beans? Surely, there must be something hidden from our eyes here.
For a long time I have been buying coffee beans and I grind them myself. On more than one occasions I found something else in the package with the beans - smaller branches of the plant, etc. The colour of the additional stuff was much similar to the beans, it was roasted together with them beans. Then it became obvious, that ground coffee can have any additional stuff in it.
I remember a relative of mine who had been working in a Uranium mine in Hungary.. Once he told me about a procedure of theirs which was commonly used. Not all the layers of material they dug out of the hidden pockets of mother Earth were of the same quality. They made proper measurements about the stuff and had piled them in a coherent order, putting the weaker stuff on the bottom of a pile and the best on top. Then they started watering it and the water flowing down from the top washed some of the high properties with itself and made it measurable as such in the bottom ones. For how long, I don't know, but with radioactive properties, it surely lasted till the product reached the buyers' premises.
Similarly, some additives in coffee can take on the properties of the good stuff, and can smell and act like real coffee.
The end result is still better than instant coffee, you might argue, but I say, when I drink coffee, I'd rather want it to be coffee, and as such, it must originate from coffee beans and not from secret additives.
The reason behind it is obvious. From a certain amount of 'input material' you could only sell the real input quantity without this manipulation. After the stuff being tampered with, you can sell much more. I haven't got any details at hand, only an assumption that it might make it somewhere 30-50% or with artificial flavourings and further additives even upwards and in the end the percentage can be three digit.
The same thing goes for filtered/loose tea, grated/block of cheese (grated cheese is not only cheaper, but it needs a special substance so that the small pieces won't stick together) and many similar stuff, including salt, herbs and spices, kitchen ready sauces, etc. It's hard to avoid all additives and secret ingredients of the food (and drug!) industry, but if you are concerned, you can draw your lines and decide for yourself in which areas you do not compromise.
Keep your eyes wide open and don't let them fool you!