MONTVALE, N.J -- The move toward specialty and gourmet blends has had a positive effect on A&P's Eight O'Clock private-label whole-bean coffees, an A&P official told SN.
"We continue to add a lot of different flavors to the specialty coffees we market under the name Royale From the Makers of Eight O'Clock," said Michael Rourke, senior vice president of communications & corporate affairs for A&P here.
In a New Jersey A&P SN visited last month, the company's Eight O'Clock and related products occupied about two-thirds of the coffee aisle. In addition to the red Eight O'Clock bags and black Bokkar blend bags that have been staples in A&P stores for generations, large portions of the aisle set were devoted to the company's Royale, Green Royale and Royal Plantation brands.
Packaged in gold 12-ounce bags, the Royale coffees were featured at $5.39, a 90-cent savings off the regular $6.29 retail. White Russian, Colombian Supremo, Jamaican Royal Nut, Irish Cream, house blend, espresso, chocolate raspberry, decaf hazelnut and mocha java were among the 21 different varieties stocked.
"A lot of the coffee market has gone to the special blends and that is the area where we are getting some growth," Rourke said. Rourke added that A&P's traditional Eight O'Clock continues to sell well.
A&P also has a Green Royale line of upscale coffees from various exotic locales around the globe. Included in this line are Tanzania AA, Kenya AA, New Guinea AA Sigri Plantation, Ethiopia Sidamo, Guatemala Antigua, Costa Rica Tarrazu and connoisseur's blend.
A&P is also expanding its line of Royal Plantation coffees, which retail for $6.99 a pound. In the store SN visited, these items were merchandised along the top half of an 8-foot section of the coffee aisle in clear self-service drop bins. A shopper places a bag under a shoot and releases a lever to fill the bag to the desired amount. In the Royal Plantation line, 32 stockkeeping units were available, including Kona delight, praline, mocha java and hazelnut.