Inside these posts: Coffee

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Kraft to bring Gevalia coffee to grocery stores

Just weeks after losing its contract to distribute Starbucks coffee in grocery stores, Northfield-based Kraft Foods announced that it is prepping a successor, Gevalia. Get the full story »

Dunkin’ hires JPMorgan, Barclays to lead IPO

A busy morning at the Dunkin' Donuts franchise in the village of Posen. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Tribune)

Dunkin’ Brands Inc. has hired J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Barclays PLC to lead an initial public offering of its Dunkin’ Donuts unit this summer, CNBC’s Kate Kelly reported Thursday, without citing sources.

The IPO would seek to raise between $500 million and $700 million, she said. Get the full story »

Study: McDonald’s winning coffee loyalty battle

Coffee cups at the McDonald's restaurant at Fullerton & Central in Chicago. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune)

Fickle coffee drinkers are most loyal to a purveyor better known for burgers, a new study found. Coffee customers of McDonald’s Corp., said they were more loyal to the home of the Big Mac than those who frequent Starbucks Corp. and Dunkin’ Donuts in a study by market research firm CustomersDNA LLC.

The as-yet unpublished study involved 15,000 fast-food customers who were asked about their coffee and breakfast-buying habits, only 29 percent of McDonald’s customers said they go to a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee or breakfast in a given month. Get the full story »

Dunkin’ Donuts parent eyes IPO

A Dunkin' Donuts in Posen, Ill. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Private equity-backed Dunkin’ Brands Inc. is considering an initial public offering of about $500 million in the second half of 2011, sources familiar with the situation said.

The IPO could be as large as $750 million, one of the sources said. Two or the sources said that there is disagreement among the sponsors over the company’s valuation. All of the sources said the discussions are preliminary and could change. Get the full story »

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 and Peet’s in recent deal talks: Report

(Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Peet’s Coffee & Tea recently held talks with Starbucks about a potential sale to the large coffee shop chain, CNBC reported, citing a DealReporter report.

Peet’s has a market value of $589 million based on the stock’s closing price of $46 on Tuesday, when it rose 9.4 percent. Starbucks is valued at over $26 billion. Get the full story »

Starbucks wins Kraft appeal over coffee deal

Packages of Starbucks coffee lined up in a supermarket in January 2011. (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

It’s official: Kraft Foods will lose its Starbucks business March 1.

The final legal obstacle was removed to Starbucks ending its coffee distribution agreement with Northfield-based Kraft Foods by a U.S. appeals court ruling Friday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York affirmed a lower court ruling of Jan. 28, denying Kraft’s request to stop Starbucks from moving ahead with its plan to use a new partner to distribute packaged coffee to supermarkets in North America and Europe.

Kraft and Starbucks Coffee Co. are in the arbitration to decide what the Seattle-based coffee giant must pay to terminate the relationship. Kraft has been fighting in court to maintain control of the Starbucks business until the arbitration has been concluded. Get the full story »

Dunkin’ Donuts to sell K-cups for Keurig brewers

Dunkin’ Donuts and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters are hooking up to make Dunkin’s coffee available in K-cups for Keurig machines.

Beginning this summer, at participating Dunkin’ cafes in the U.S. and Canada, the K-cups will be sold in 14-packs, available in original, decaf, French vanilla, hazelnut, and Dunkin’ dark. Some cafes will also be selling Keurig brewers. Get the full story »

Weak crops push coffee prices to 14-year high

Coffee prices hit a 14-year high this week, and it’s only a matter of time before java lovers will have to pay more in stores and coffee shops.

Coffee futures have doubled in the last year, closing at $2.46 per pound  Thursday. That’s the highest price since May 1997, when coffee was trading at $3.20 per pound. Get the full story »

Kraft says court will hear appeal in Starbucks case

Kraft Foods Inc. said an appeals court agreed to hear arguments over whether Starbucks Corp. can proceed with taking over distribution of its bagged coffee as planned on March 1.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Thursday said it would hold an expedited appeal, according to Kraft, which must file its argument by Feb. 9. A final ruling on the appeal could come by the end of the month.

Kraft planned to appeal last Friday’s ruling, where the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denied a preliminary injunction that would block Starbucks from taking over the distribution from Kraft in just a couple of weeks. 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 »

Sara Lee announces plans to split in 2; stock drops

Sara Lee desserts in a grocer's freezer. (AP)

Downers Grove-based food maker Sara Lee announced Friday that it will divide itself two publicly-traded companies. The plan, which has been approved by Sara Lee’s board, divides the company into North American and European divisions. One company will focus on North American grocery and supplying products to the restaurant industry, and the other on European coffee, tea and bread.

In a call with investors, Marcel Smits, the company’s newly-appointed CEO, acknowledged that Sara Lee had received “unsolicited interest” in buying the company. He said that after a rigorous review, the company’s board determined that splitting the company was in shareholders’ best interest, adding that the individual companies are likely to do better on their own.

Sara Lee will issue a $3 special dividend to shareholders as part of the split. Get the full story »

Sara Lee pushing ahead on break up plan, for now

Sara Lee Corp. is pushing ahead with plans to separate its two main businesses, after offers from interested buyers came in below the company’s price expectations, people familiar with the matter said.

The expected move is likely to squelch what had been a mounting auction for the Downers Grove-based company. But it could set up opportunity for deals in the future. Get the full story »

McDonald’s likely to hike prices as costs rise

McDonald’s Corp. will raise prices in the U.S. this year to combat rising commodity costs, the company said in its fourth-quarter earnings call Monday morning.

The Oak Brook-based burger chain estimates that ingredient costs will rise 2 percent to 2.5 percent, with some of those costs passed on to consumers. Get the full story »

Sara Lee to weigh buyout offers this week

Sara Lee Corp. will decide its future this week as it weighs offers from Brazilian beef processor JBS SA and a group led by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC and investor C. Dean Metropoulos, people familiar with the matter said.

The private-equity group has submitted an offer for Sara Lee of between $18 and $19 a share and JBS, with the help of the Blackstone Group, has indicated it will bid soon, the people said. Apollo and Metropoulos, a Connecticut entrepreneur who acquired Pabst Brewing Co. last year, are leading a consortium that includes Bain Capital LLC and TPG Capital LP, the people said. Get the full story »