Who owns what?

by on February 20, 2006

You can find many different coffee brands on supermarket shelves, and frequently multiple brands are actually owned by one of only a few corporate conglomerates.  Some of these companies have poor records when it comes to environmental and social responsibility.  Here is a primer on common coffee brand ownership, mostly in the U.S.  These brands represent 40  to 60% of the world coffee market.  Read about their role in the coffee crisis.

Nestlé Nescafé, Nespresso, Taster’s Choice, Clasico.  Purchases 870,000 tons of coffee annually, over 20% of the market, of which only a tiny fraction of a percent carries eco-certification.

JM Smucker Co. — In 2008, Proctor & Gamble (P&G) divested itself of its coffee division, which was taken over by Smucker’s.  Smucker’s now owns the Dunkin Donuts retail distribution, as well as the Folgers, Millstone, and Kava coffee brands. In 2011, they acquired Cafe Pilon and Cafe Bustelo. Java Coast was purchased from Sara Lee. Smuckers buys nearly 300,000 tons of coffee annually, with less than 1% being certified. They have a reputation for being resistant to disclosing sustainability efforts.

Mondelez International (formerly Kraft Foods)  — Coffee brands include Yuban, Maxwell House, General Foods International Coffee, Gevalia, Kenco, Maxim, Tassimo, Nabob, and Sanka. Kraft Foods is making an effort to use more Rainforest Alliance certified coffee in some of their brands, mostly in Europe, but it still makes up only a small percentage of their total coffee. In the U.S., make sure to examine the Rainforest Alliance seal on the package — it will tell you how much certified coffee is in the package, and it is often only 30%.

Massimo Zanetti Beverage USAHills Brothers, MJB, Chock Full o’Nuts, Chase and Sanborn, Kauai Coffee, Segafredo. Owns many of the brands previously owned by Sara Lee, which divested itself of its coffee operations; other brands went to Smucker.  MZB is a huge privately-owned company which sources a lot of its coffee from it’s own massive full sun plantation in Brazil, said to be the largest in the world.

Tata Global BeveragesEight O’Clock.

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Revised on September 9, 2013

Posted in Background information,Corporate coffee

Kurt Stauffer November 23, 2007 at 11:03 am

When the Big 4 hegemenize the Specialty Coffee movement we're back to square one. Be carefull what you wish for. I DO NOT think they should be in the Organic, Fair Trade, or craft roasting business. They will squeeze every penny out of it and leave all the craft roasters in ruin. Let them buy Brazilian and Vietnamese Canifora. That's their niche. I don't even know why you waste your time talking about them except to say "Here's what you don't buy".

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