Who owns what?

by JulieCraves 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.

Below is a primer on common U.S. coffee brand ownership. Read about how much certified coffee these companies purchase here, and their role in the coffee crisis here.

Note that some brands may have split ownership representing different parts of the world, or a division of distribution lines between retail/grocery and coffee shop/restaurant. For example, Nestlè owns the distribution rights to Starbucks coffee in grocery stores and retail chains, but Starbucks does the coffee sourcing. I have tried to simplify here.

JM Smucker Co. — Through purchases of other companies, coffee is now the main business of JM Smucker, and their Folgers brand is the largest brand in North America, accounting for nearly 20% of the retail volume. Other brands include Millstone, Cafe Pilon, Cafe Bustelo, and Kava. They distribute Dunkin Donuts retail coffee (both companies have poor coffee sustainability records). Read more about JM Smuckers here and Dunkin here.

Kraft Heinz Company –Maxwell House (North America), Yuban, Gevalia, Nabob, Ethical Bean — about 10% of the U.S. market by volume. As of 2019, Kraft Heinz was exploring selling the Maxwell House brand. Ethical Bean is the company’s attempt at sustainable coffee as it is all organic; volume figures are not available.

JAB Holding CompanyPrivately held company that went on a large buying spree starting in 2012 and now controls an enormous market share through its subsidiaries and acquisitions. Some of the familiar and important brands under the JAB umbrella include: Jacobs Douwe Egberts/JDE Peet’s, Green Mountain, Caribou Coffee, Peet’s, Intelligentsia, Stumptown, Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, Douwe Egberts, Einstein Bros Bagels, and many more. See a fuller list of brands under their subdivisions Keurig Dr Pepper and JDE Peet’s. Additionally, JAB also launched the subscription coffee service Trade. I rarely say this, but you may want to check Wikipedia to keep up! All together, JAB’s brands probably make up 5-6% of the U.S. Market.

Nestlè — Nescafè and Nespresso are their popular brands. Purchases 870,000 tons of coffee annually, around 10% of world production, of which only a tiny fraction of a percent carries eco-certification. Their market share in the U.S. is quite small, less than 5% if their distribution of Starbucks coffee in stores isn’t counted (Starbucks sources this coffee).

Tata Consumer Products — Eight O’Clock. This one brand makes up perhaps 2.5% of the U.S. market.

Massimo Zanetti Beverage USAHills Brothers, 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. 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. Their profile at the Sustainable Coffee Challenge website indicates very limited and lackluster sustainability goals. About 2% of the U.S. market.

These large companies rarely divulge coffee volumes purchased. These figures are estimated based on retail sales by volume and retail volume of coffee sold, calculated in tons. Numbers for 2019 and 2020 were averaged due to the market skew that occurred during the covid-19 pandemic. Data was primarily from Euromonitor, but included other sources.

Revised on January 29, 2022

Posted in Background information,Corporate coffee

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