New lower-acid coffees may help supermarket retailers bring customers who may have strayed back into their coffee aisles. Coffee products introduced within the last month are attempting to target the population of coffee lovers whose digestive tracks are sensitive to the acids in coffee.
"[These products] could increase sales by bringing a consumer back into the coffee segment who had stopped for health reasons," said Gary Hemphill, vice president of information services at the Beverage Marketing Corp., New York.
Coffee Legends Inc., Little Rock, Ark., and Auto Body, Santa Fe, N.M., have introduced Johann Wulff's The Considerate Coffee and Imus Brothers' Stomach Friendly gourmet coffee, respectively. Both companies use a steaming process to remove the natural acid irritants that can form during the roasting process. Steaming the coffee leaves the aroma, flavor and caffeine intact.
Both products are available in decaffeinated and caffeinated varieties online and at retail locations. The Considerate Coffee is also available in a variety of roasts.
"It's an effort to target an increasingly aging population," said Hemphill. "As a result of this, we're seeing an increasing number of products being introduced to target that group."
Hemphill cites the introduction of products like low-acid orange juice and lactose-free milk as part of the same health trend. But, he stressed, health-conscious consumers have been around for quite some time. Products like this fill a void for products targeted at consumers with specific health concerns centered around aging, he said.
"This is definitely a trend, but not a new trend of health consciousness. People are focused on what they eat and drink in terms of how healthy products are for them. But as the population ages there are different health needs and requirements. These types of introductions fall into that area."