Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

How green is your coffee habit?


garbage12.JPGDespite the wide range of organic and other “green” coffee on the market, 67 percent of coffee drinkers who frequent coffee shops admit to discarding used paper cups into a regular trash can rather than a recycling bin, according to a new survey of 1007 Internet users conducted by Kelton Research and commissioned by Tata Group’s Good Earth Coffee.
That means about 28 billion cups (100 million pounds of paper) end up in U.S. landfills every year.

The study also showed that 42 percent of Americans believe it takes less time for a paper coffee cup to decompose (20 years) than a newspaper (2 weeks). Not to mention the fact that many paper coffee cups can’t be recycled or composted because of the materials with which they are coated.garbage21.JPG

More than 30 percent of survey respondents said they were willing to pay extra for organic coffee or coffee that came in an eco-friendly container.

Meanwhile, the weak U.S. economy appears to be making a dent when it comes to improving the environment. That’s because the biggest consumer trend in coffee is brewing your own at home — maybe saving some green will also help save the planet.

McDonald’s brews up anti-coffee snob ad blitz


four_drinks.jpgMcDonald’s, fancy coffee’s new kid on the block, appears to be stealing a page from the U.S. Presidential campaigns with an advertising blitz targeting the alleged coffee snobbery promoted by its upscale rival from Seattle.

McDonald’s restaurants in western Washington State — Starbucks’ home turf — have taken to the Internet with, a site that provides a menu of McDonald’s new McCafe coffee drinks as well as tips for how to intervene when someone you love is addicted to “snobby iced espresso.”

Starbucks drops the axe — is your store next?


starbucksstore2.jpgCalifornia, Florida and Texas — the states with the biggest populations and the most Starbucks outlets — are losing the most stores as the coffee chain slashes more than 600 stores in a bid to boost slumping U.S. results.

While big states are losing the most, few markets — even Starbucks’ hometown of Seattle — are immune.

Is Starbucks’ Vivanno the next Frappuccino?


vivanno1.JPGStarbucks stores around the United States are quietly preparing to roll out a new line of smoothies, called Vivanno, next week.

Some stores have even started a countdown for customers. In at least four coffee shops in Los Angeles and Chicago on Friday, chalkboards announced that Vivanno Nourishing Blends smoothies would be available in just four days.

Consumer Reports mellows on Starbucks


Pike Place cupFirst it was too bitter, now it’s too mild.

Will Starbucks ever get it just right with the coffee testers at Consumer Reports?

In March 2007, the magazine blasted Starbucks’ drip java for being too burnt and bitter, and said fast-food vendor McDonald’s had a superior brew.

Weighing in on Starbucks’ new brew



“Not as bitter!” “What’s with the flayed mermaid”? “Smooth …” “What? Free coffee?”

Just a few of the comments overheard this morning in the busy newsroom — journalists are a highly caffeinated bunch, after all — about Starbucks Corp’s new coffee brew called Pike Place Roast, launched today.

Check Out Line: Starbucks’ new brew


bucks.jpgCheck out the free coffee!
Starbucks will be handing out free 8-ounce samples of its new everyday brew called Pike Place Roast on Tuesday at 9 a.m. Pacific time (noon eastern).
But the free coffee is not just about generosity. Starbucks is counting on  the new coffee as one tool to help reinvigorate U.S. traffic, which has been slowing in recent months.
The Pike Place Roast brew is supposed to remind consumers of Starbucks’ early Seattle roots. The company says the coffee has a smoother flavor and finish.
The new brew is one of several steps Starbucks announced last month — including a new customer rewards program and new espresso machines — as it tries to draw customers back amid a weak U.S. economy and competition in the coffee business from McDonald’s.
Also in the basket:
Countdown at Cavalli: Bidding process begins for stake in firm (WWD)
Asian inflation begins to sting U.S. shoppers (N.Y. Times)

 (Photo: Reuters)