What coffees for a new retail brand?


New member
May 1, 2012
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If you were selling through supermarkets what coffees would you sell on the retail shelf?

I know a lot of you run coffee shops and can sell a lot of really pricey coffee because you've got lots of customers looking for the next 'coffee adventure' they can go on. That is not the case when selling through large retailers. You are limited to X number of varieties (depending on the store size and 'personality').

Customers, once they start drinking your coffee, want to come back and buy the same thing again and again. Small crop, limited edition coffees don't work in this environment because there is no shelf space for a coffee that comes and goes. You've got to fit in the store's plan-o-gram. While we're passionate about our coffees and our business, the large retailer is not. If your coffee is selling he's happy, but if it isn't selling enough to justify the shelf space you've been given -- from his point of view -- he doesn't need you. It is a numbers game for him.

That said, here are some rules to apply to any suggestions you might want to pass along:
  • The roasted coffee will have to be superior in quality and taste above the 'factory' coffee already on the shelves (which will justify its 30% higher selling price) A side note here . . . the retailer will only accept a retail price, especially for a new brand, that is within X price boundaries, if you're beyond what he thinks the market will bear then you're not going any further. Meeting adjourned.
  • The green coffee will have to be available to purchase from bean brokers pretty much year round
  • If you suggest a blend then all beans in the blend would need to be availalble year round
  • The green coffee can be pricey, to a degree, but not out of sight. Let's say max is €6.00 per kilo (approx $3.70 lb).

And the coffee cannot be:
  • Ethiopian
  • Colombian
  • Sumatran

Thanks for giving this some thought and working within the boundaries that have been set. I look forward to seeing what you suggest.