Business World


Foodservice Expectations

The National Coffee Association (NCA) is bringing the industry’s leading CEOs to Boca. Since its inception, the NCA has been bringing the coffee industry together - roasters, importers, exporters and allied suppliers. This is the event where I am guaranteed having a 15-minute conversation with any attending CEO, and at this year’s annual convention, the NCA is making them talk.

Jim Nolan, Sara Lee’s Foodservice CEO, announced a major restructuring and is taking on the challenge of navigating the company’s foodservice organizational transformation. In his address, Nolan will describe what is not merely a business transition, but a reformation into a fully integrated North American foodservice organization, comprised of coffee, meats and bakery businesses.

Also speaking is John Luther, CEO of Dunkin’ Brands. Luther will examine how companies can meet growing customer demands by tapping their passion for the brand. His experience, at the helm of one of America’s largest retailers, will illustrate his distinctive approach to this emerging consumer reality. “It’s a unique time, and our coffee needs are likely to grow exponentially over the next five years,” says Luther. “We cannot afford to take a casual, business-as-usual approach to getting high-quality green coffee.”

Meeting those needs also requires careful planning to identify and satisfy customers’ passion for the brand without compromising quality. “We go to great lengths to bring our customers quality coffee,” says Luther. “In turn, they are particularly passionate about our brand. They know our quality profile and they’ll complain with their wallets, if we don’t deliver.”

Despite new ownership, and what could be considered precarious times, as a new owner leads a well-established company, I’ve seen Dunkin Donuts not only introduce new coffee and bakery items, but forge into the coffee market, attracting the consumer more and more to their shops.

There’s much change in the foodservice side to coffee as fast-food establishments have been eyeing the increase in coffee consumption and want a piece of the market. Profits on specialty coffee - nearly $9 billion a year retail market in the U.S. - are too large for the chains to ignore. No longer is the customer content with a regular cup of coffee - they want it grande, with syrups, whipped cream, and sometimes they want it purchased from origins in a fair manner.

McDonald’s, who has been testing high-end coffee in its restaurants, announced last November that it would be serving Fair Trade Certified organic coffee in 658 of its restaurants in New England and Albany, New York. Participating locations will be switching 100%of their coffee products over to Fair Trade Certified coffee from Newman’s Own Organics, roasted by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Exxon Mobil gas stations and 7-Eleven stores are all cashing in on the demand for a premium brew. The fast-food retailers, Wendy’s, Subway and Burger King have announced plans to upgrade their coffee service.

Oh, happy days are back again!

Jane McCabe
Editor & Co-Publisher

Tea & Coffee - February/March, 2006

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