BOISE, Idaho -- Albertsons here has begun selling its first brand of certified Fair Trade coffee, according to Equal Exchange, the product's manufacturer.
All 140 Albertsons' supermarkets in Washington and Oregon are stocking four coffees: Organic Breakfast Blend, Organic French Roast, Organic Mind Body and Soul blend, and Organic Decaf, according to Equal Exchange, Canton, Mass. Each flavor comes in a 12-ounce package that carries a suggested retail price of $7.49. A total of four stockkeeping units and five facings are being offered.
The coffee line has been added as part of an overhaul to Albertsons' coffee sections, according to Equal Exchange. The coffee section reset is designed to create a selection of products that better meet changing consumer preferences. It comes in response to letters sent to Albertsons as part of its "Dear Albertsons" marketing campaign, which encourages shoppers to write in with comments and suggestions.
"Albertsons learned through 'Dear Albertsons' that people wanted Fair Trade coffee," Rodney North, spokesman, Equal Exchange, told SN.
Officials at Albertsons were unavailable for comment.
Because Albertsons is one of the nation's leading supermarket chains, the introduction of Equal Exchange coffee marks a significant advancement for Fair Trade in the Northwest, Rink Dickinson, founder and co-executive director of Equal Exchange, said in a prepared statement.
"In the past, the Pacific Northwest has been America's coffee trendsetter, so this suggests that Fair Trade will continue to grow for years to come," said Dickinson.
Fair Trade certification comes from cooperatives of small farmers that were paid a just price for their crop.
Fair Trade farmer cooperatives are paid at least $1.26 per pound of coffee, and $1.41 for organic coffee. In contrast, the current world market price is 65 cents per pound and has dropped as low as 42 cents in the last year, according to Equal Exchange.
In other news, Albertsons has partnered with the Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, to celebrate Black History Month by honoring the achievements of African American entrepreneurs.
The honorees are African Americans who manufacture or distribute products sold in Albertsons' family of stores, including Albertsons, Acme, Jewel-Osco, Osco Drug and Sav-on Drug.
Albertsons and Coca-Cola will donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of African American-manufactured or distributed products to African American museums in some of Albertsons' major markets.
"The achievements and leadership provided by African American entrepreneurs help build a strong foundation for America's future," Larry Johnston, chairman and chief executive officer, Albertsons, said in a prepared statement. "Albertsons applauds the outstanding contributions these entrepreneurs are making to our society."