Higher Coffee Prices Jolt Cafes & Consumers

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Higher coffee prices jolt cafes, consumers

The price of a pound of raw coffee beans has almost doubled in 12 months.  The caffeine in your morning cup of coffee might not be the only thing giving you a jolt — the price could be, too.

Coffee prices, from generic to specialty brews, have been ticking upward for over a year with no end in sight.  The price of a pound of raw coffee beans has almost doubled in 12 months. Now consumers are cutting back, roasters are struggling and retailers are scrambling to cover costs. With rising food and fuel prices, coffee drinkers are left to make tough choices about their caffeine habits.

Kraft Foods Inc., makers of Maxwell House, raised prices 22 percent in March.  Other price increases came from J.M. Smucker Co., the maker of Folgers, and Starbucks Corp.  Even discount stores have raised prices.  Costco’s wholesale coffee costs increased about 25 percent over the past year. Retail prices have gone up 10 percent as a result.

Price increases are the result of higher demand worldwide. Coffee imports have increased by 23 percent over the last decade, according to data from the International Coffee Organization.

Meanwhile, coffee futures rose more than 50 percent in the past year.

While coffee prices are up, there also is a bigger picture.  Philosophically, a cup of coffee is still an inexpensive way to be sociable.  We’re social creatures and we still have to get about and be with one another.  You don’t need to be one of the Coffeedorks to know that, people will continue to drink coffee, even if the prices were much higher than they are. There’s been an increase in coffee prices in three out of four months for the last nine months, to the tune of a 39 percent increase on roasted coffee prices.  So swift and sustained has the increase been, that establishments have not been able to pass along the full increase to their customers, and an end is not in sight.   We are expecting to see another seven to 10 percent increase in price in the next few months.   Some attribute the price increases to the political unrest and turmoil going on in various parts of the world, but also to increased demand for a good cup of coffee.  No one has seen a decrease in consumption. In fact, consumers are demanding stronger blends of coffee than ever before, which requires more coffee grounds to achieve.

Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2011/06/23/1870287/higher-coffee-prices-jolt-cafes.html#ixzz1Q7ubkLz7

Source:  Courtney Ridenhour – McLathcy Newspapers, 6/23/11

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