CINCINNATI -- Kroger Co. here is introducing a new line of gourmet coffees packaged in single-use and 6-ounce pouches.
Marketed under the International Bazaar brand name, the coffees are produced by River Road Coffee, Messina, N.Y., and to date are being sold in Kroger's Mid-Atlantic Kroger Marketing Area (Roanoke division) and Central KMA (Indianapolis division). They were introduced after the first of the year, and are available in up to 10 varieties.
Both the 1.75-ounce single-use and 6-ounce three- to four-pot sizes are packaged in stand-up pouches, which come in a sleeve that slides out on the shelf for easy display. The 6-ounce size has a reclosable zippered closure.
"This 6-ounce size package is very new to coffee," David Copeland, president of River Road Coffee, told SN.
"We feel that the market at retail is lacking in pack sizes that range from 99 cents to $2.99. Those are very attractive price points," he said, noting River Road Coffee is working with several other accounts, including a large Toronto-based wholesaler, on developing similar private-label coffee products.
Officials at Kroger's headquarters here declined to comment, referring calls to Dayton, Ohio-based International Bazaar. International Bazaar is marketing the product in Kroger stores, as well as in other chains. The International Bazaar brand was once owned by Kroger, but was sold about seven years ago.
"The coffee market is not the easiest in the world, but the packaging has been well-received and we are doing well with it where we have distribution," said Mike Splain, president of International Bazaar. Splain added that distribution is pending with several other Kroger divisions.
Splain said International Bazaar is using "roller promotions" of reduced retail shelf tags to encourage trial and repeat purchases. Although the fluctuating coffee market has caused Splain to raise his retail price from 99 cents to $1.19 on the single pack and from $3.29 to $3.79 on the 6-ounce pouch, he said sales remain strong.
River Road Coffee also produces an acid-reduced coffee using similar packaging under the Euro Mild brand name.