Sara Lee and Kraft both announce increases in purchase of certified coffees: what does this mean?
Sara Lee (Senseo, Java Coast, Douwe Egberts, etc.) recently announced a five-year goal of tripling the amount of Utz Certified coffee it purchases. I love how this was spun: that in the past five years, Sara Lee had purchased 110 million kilos of Utz Certified coffee. That sounds like a huge amount, but 110 million kilos is 110,000 metric tons over five years. This is a little over 20,000 tons per year of the 450,000 tons that they purchase annually — less than 5% of their purchases. Indeed, this is right in line with what we learned in my previous post Certified coffee: current market share, part 2.
The article goes on to say that Sara Lee is “committed to more than triple that amount in the next five years and purchase at least 350 million kilos across all its markets and product segments.” My emphasis added. All product segments, as the piece goes on to say, includes tea (e.g., Pickwick and Hornimans brands in Europe). Sara Lee purchased 2000 tons of Utz Certified tea in 2010, so a tripling of that amount has to be factored in to get to their goal of 350 million kilos. If met, this goal means that in 2015, certified coffee will still only be 15 to 20% of their total coffee purchases. And Utz currently does not have significant environmental standards.
Sara Lee also just revealed that due to rising coffee prices, it will be reformulating some of its coffee blends to include more cheap robusta beans. You know — the ones typically grown as sun coffee.
Kraft (Yuban, Maxwell House, General Foods International Coffee, Gevalia, Kenco, Maxim, Tassimo, Nabob, and Sanka) has reported that they increased the amount of Rainforest Alliance certified coffee they purchased to 110 million pounds in 2010. If we drag out the calculator again (and round up for the sake of simplicity) we see that is 50,000 metric tons…out of the 740,000 tons they purchase each year, or less than 7% of their total purchases.