Inside these posts: Coffee drinks

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Starbucks raises grocery packaged coffee prices

(Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Starbucks raised its price for grocery packaged coffee on Friday by 12 percent, on average, due to still climbing coffee commodity prices.

The increase affects both Starbucks and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands and is the company’s first price increase on grocery packaged coffee since March 2008. Get the full story »

Starbucks offers customers option to replace Via

Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks will offer customers who don’t like Starbucks Via Ready Brew the option of replacing it with a 12-ounce bag of ground coffee.

Via, launched in 2009, was the first major entry into the U.S. instant coffee market in years. Though the coffee packets generated $135 million in sales in their first year, Starbucks is appealing to a wider audience with an offer: Try it. And if you don’t like it, we’ll replace it with regular coffee.

Starbucks announced the promotion Tuesday morning. It will run through August. In order to score free java, customers unhappy with their Via purchase can print out a form online and mail it in with their original receipt and UPC code. Requests must be postmarked by August 31. Get the full story »

Starbucks looks for growth, throws barbs at Kraft

Starbucks provided only limited updates Wednesday on its dispute with Kraft Foods Inc., but did say it has been dissatisfied with Kraft for a while and claimed Kraft has failed to effectively work with Starbucks or promote its products.

The two companies entered arbitration after Starbucks announced it wanted to end a 12-year agreement under which Kraft distributes and promotes packaged Starbucks coffee in stores.

Kraft has said the agreement has been mutually beneficial and that it has helped deliver major gains for Starbucks. A Kraft spokesman said Wednesday that the companies’ dispute centers on how Starbucks will take over Kraft’s responsibilities and end the contract. Get the full story »

Wall Street wants more on Starbucks’ grocery plan

Starbucks is prepared to make acquisitions to help accelerate sales of bagged coffee and other consumer products beyond its cafes, Chief Executive Howard Schultz told investors on Wednesday.

The brass at Starbucks Corp says the consumer packaged goods business should grow faster than the company’s retail cafes, which total 17,000 globally.

But Wall Street wants specifics on how it will accomplish that goal, particularly as it works through a messy break-up with Kraft Foods Inc, which has handled sales of Starbucks packaged coffee and tea in supermarkets and club stores since 1998. Speaking at the company’s investor meeting in New York, Schultz said the Seattle-based coffee giant was prepared to buy small and large companies that would help expand its selection of consumer products. Starbucks shares rose 3.3 percent in morning trading. Get the full story »

Starbucks aims for average Joe with Seattle’s Best

A product image provided by Starbucks showing the company's new line of Seattle's Best Coffee. (AP Photo/Starbucks Corp.)

Starbucks Corp. wants to appeal a bit more to the average Joe.

This week, the company will roll out a new line of its Seattle’s Best Coffee to be sold at grocery stores and other retailers. It has a lighter taste and simpler selling approach that it hopes will attract coffee drinkers that Starbucks may have left behind.

The coffee giant acquired Seattle’s Best about seven years ago. Until recently, has let the brand sit quietly on the sidelines. But as competition for coffee drinkers has increased, Starbucks is looking to it for growth. Get the full story »

Starbucks starts holiday push with free postcards

With Thanksgiving just a week away, it’s starting to look like a lot like Christmas. The Cook County Building turned on red and green lights in its lobby, and Starbucks has broken out red cups, peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes.

Customers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are getting a little something extra today — a hand with holiday cards. Starbucks is sponsoring photo booths until 5 p.m. today where customers can line up for a free personalized holiday postcard, with a buy-one-get-one-free offer for friends and family.

Starbucks’ holiday pushes are particularly significant for the coffee chain’s business, as it identifies its sales more closely with retail, rather than the fast food industry. Many of the chain’s stores are also located at or near malls, and holiday traffic has often been a boon for the chain. Get the full story »

Starbucks fires Kraft as products distributor

Starbucks Corp. informed Kraft Foods Inc. that it plans to end a more-than-a-decade-old deal under which Kraft distributes packaged Starbucks coffee to stores and other outlets.

Kraft, which also surprised Wall Street with its profit report, said it was too early to say what the impact of the lost agreement would be on its results. “We know this has been on their minds, but we haven’t entered into any specific conversations about the when or the why or the how,” said Kraft Chief Financial Officer Tim McLevish on a conference call with analysts. Get the full story »

Starbucks 4th-quarter net income nearly doubles

Starbucks says its fourth-quarter net income nearly doubled as revenue spiked, beating analyst estimates, and it raised its targets for fiscal 2011.

More Starbucks workers gloomy about cutbacks


Four years ago, generous benefits and opportunities for advancement convinced Leigh Swanson to use her new master’s degree in human resources to manage a Starbucks cafe. She called it one of the best workplaces she had ever experienced.

Then, in 2007, with the coffee chain in the midst of a building binge, the worst downturn since the Great Depression hit, hammering Starbucks’ bottom line. Sharp cost-cuts, the introduction of corporate efficiency tools like scheduling software and an increased emphasis on pushing product sales have helped the company return to record profitability.

They also led Swanson to quit in May. The disappearing perks and the financial fixes dampened her enthusiasm for recruiting potential new partners, as Starbucks calls its employees. “I found it really sad. I was really invested,” said Swanson, who was in charge of a Starbucks in the Florida Panhandle. “I just didn’t feel proud anymore. I wasn’t in it to manage a McDonald’s.” Get the full story »

Starbucks tells baristas to slow down

Baristas participate in espresso training at Starbucks, Feb. 26, 2008. (Keith Bedford/Handout)

From the Wall Street Journal | Starbucks customers could be stuck in longer lines now that the company has told baristas to slow down and only work on two beverages at a time. The Wall Street Journal reviewed company documents instructing employees to steam milk for each drink individually, rising pitchers after each use and using only one espresso machine. The changes are designed to address criticisms about assembly-line coffee. Get the full story>>

Starbucks hiking price on large, complicated drinks

A Starbucks store in New York. (AP)

After declaring its resolve last month to absorb increases in the cost of green coffee, Starbucks Corp. said it will raise prices on some of its drinks.

The Seattle coffee giant said Wednesday that the price of green Arabica coffee, which is close to a 13-year high, and price volatility for other raw materials it uses, such as dairy products sugar and cocoa, have forced it to respond. Get the full story »

Consumers starting to see coffee price jolt

Americans are getting more than just a jolt of caffeine with their coffee these days — the price is jumping, too.

Coffee for December delivery settled up 2.25 cents at $1.9455 a pound Wednesday after hitting a 13-year high of $1.9865 per pound earlier in the day. Get the full story »

Starbucks’ new Reserve line caters to coffee geeks

Coffee chain Starbucks plans to introduce the exotically-named Galapagos San Cristobal, the first in its new Reserve line, next Monday at 700 select stores. These coffees are characterized by “high quality, small quantity and unique stories,” said Anthony Carroll, Starbucks’ manager of green coffee quality. He flew in to Chicago Tuesday to offer an advanced taste of the special coffee at a Starbucks in the Loop.

Starbucks testing green coffee in summer drinks

Starbucks Corp. began testing summer drinks with a base of green, unroasted coffee this week as it works on new products to drive sales and differentiate itself from rivals like McDonald’s Corp .

The drinks, called “Refreshers,” will be sold at 113 company-operated cafes around San Diego and priced from $2.50 to $2.95. Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage, Julie Felss Masino, said they are made of fruit and low in calories and caffeine.

Ingredients include a “flavor neutral” powdered extract made from unroasted green coffee and formulated to have less of a caffeine kick than regular coffee, she said. “It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” she said. Get the full story »

Starbucks profit matches expectations

The Seattle-based chain, which has just completed a restructuring, raised its fiscal 2010 earnings target to $1.22 to $1.23 per share, from $1.19 to $1.22 per share previously. Analysts on average were looking for a profit of $1.23 for the fiscal year ending September 2010. Get the full story »