Tag Archive for: CEO

by Mike Dabadie

Marketing Miracles

Categories: 2014, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , Author:

By this time in the cal­en­dar year, some orga­ni­za­tions have already started to develop strate­gic and/or annual oper­at­ing plans. Some call these sales plans and in large orga­ni­za­tions there may be both long-range strate­gic plans as well as yearly plans that oper­a­tional­ize the long-term strate­gic plan. Some even have plans down at the team or depart­men­tal level.
For small busi­nesses, the plan for 2015 may just be ideas, scrib­bles on paper, or notes slapped on a com­puter screen. The “plan on a nap­kin” may even be present!
Still for oth­ers, there is no busi­ness plan. In fact, there may not be any type of plan! Without solid plan­ning a busi­ness car­ries more risk, misses oppor­tu­ni­ties, allows a com­peti­tor to seize advan­tages, slows down progress, and cre­ates con­fu­sion.
As General Eisenhower famously said, “In prepar­ing for bat­tle, I have always found that plans are use­less, but plan­ning is indispensable.”

So, what is strate­gic plan­ning and what are the impor­tant com­po­nents of a plan? First, let’s pull apart the term strate­gic planning.

I define strat­egy as the art and sci­ence of cre­at­ing a plan to bring about a desired out­come. Before you plan, you want to be strate­gic in order to reach an out­come. In your busi­ness or life; if you want to do some­thing, how are you going to do it? Strategy helps you to think about how to get there.

Planning can be defined as help­ing to iden­tify those strate­gies and accom­pa­ny­ing actions to guide you toward a desired out­come. Planning are the tac­tics and the ways to get there.

Taken together, these def­i­n­i­tions bring to life what suc­cess­ful orga­ni­za­tions do so well: strate­gic planning.

Over the years, we have observed and worked with many orga­ni­za­tions on their strate­gic plans.

We believe that strate­gic plans and the strate­gic plan­ning process should reflect and respect the fol­low­ing: the cul­ture of the orga­ni­za­tion, the peo­ple involved, the mission/vision/values of the orga­ni­za­tion, the need for real­is­tic and attain­able hori­zon goals, the resources that can be deployed for imple­men­ta­tion, and the desire for focused action.
At this point you may be ask­ing your­self where to start and what process to use. The best mar­keters use a “diver­gence and con­ver­gence” approach that cre­ates many ideas and then fil­ters those down against a set of cri­te­ria for suc­cess to arrive at a set of actions for their plan. I call this a “dou­ble dia­mond” and a typ­i­cal process is shown in this graphic that pro­duces hori­zons of initiatives:

dabadie copy

As such, the fol­low­ing are ele­ments of plans that have worked, and if you desire to do some plan­ning I would sug­gest that you imbed these in your work.
Successful strate­gic plans have sev­eral com­mon traits:

•    A plan based on the real­ity of today but is aspi­ra­tional: Stretch your­self to reach for a bold goal.
•    An exec­u­tive spon­sor and owner of the process: Someone has to lead these efforts and the CEO or owner can­not just dep­u­tize.
•    An exec­u­tive spon­sor and owner of imple­men­ta­tion: Plans are just that unless you do some­thing with them, and then the power of progress is unleashed.
•    Navigates the polit­i­cal real­i­ties of the orga­ni­za­tion: Agendas and cul­ture can get in the way, so accom­mo­date real­i­ties.
•    Goals, imper­a­tives, and tac­tics tied to spe­cific out­comes: Setting goals is nice, but be clear on the pur­pose.
•    Innovative tech­niques to reveal new oppor­tu­ni­ties and cre­ate an expe­ri­ence: Strategic plan­ning can be bor­ing, but the rev­e­la­tion and inspi­ra­tion of new ideas can be sparked by cre­at­ing inno­v­a­tive expe­ri­ences to open new ideas.
•    Clear and uni­fy­ing agree­ment of the brand promise: Your prod­uct makes a promise to a cus­tomer and in turn that cus­tomer has an expec­ta­tion on what they will get if they use your prod­uct. Define and deliver on that promise – it’s that sim­ple.
•    Collaborative input across the orga­ni­za­tion: The best ideas come from those vested in the results and through part­ner­ing.
•    Socialized through­out the orga­ni­za­tion for full under­stand­ing: Being famil­iar with the plan is not enough – insure that employ­ees and lead­ers under­stand it and that there is there align­ment around the plan.
•    Focused on 3–5 strate­gic objec­tives and a very clear plan of imple­men­ta­tion: Most orga­ni­za­tions try to cram too many ideas into a strate­gic plan. Focus. The best plans have 3–5 main ini­tia­tives.
•    Supports real-time strate­gic decision-making: Use the plan to take action and not win­dow dress.
•    Aligns resources to insure imple­men­ta­tion: It takes time and invest­ment to reach your goals.
•    Is a con­tin­u­ously improved plan against annual and long-term goals: While many strate­gic plans take a 3–5 year hori­zon view, they should roll annu­ally and there should be a yearly adjust­ment based on busi­ness and mar­ket changes.
•    Measures progress and imple­men­ta­tion over time: Hold your­self and oth­ers accountable.

You do not have to take all of these steps nor use a very rig­or­ous process, and per­haps the best place to begin is to just write it on a nap­kin. But I encour­age you to embrace this approach and through it you will find your own diamond.

Mike Dabadie is the founder of Heart+Mind Strategies, LLC, a research con­sul­tancy that con­tin­ues to pio­neer the use of personal-values insights and mar­ket­ing. He can be reached at

On the Shoulders of Giants

Categories: 2014, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

How do you com­pete with giants in the super­mar­ket cof­fee aisle?
Phil Johnson learned that les­son early on in his career.  In doing so, he brought gourmet cof­fee into the nation’s gro­cery stores and turned a loss leader item into a qual­ity profit producer.

The Early Years
Johnson grew up the old­est of three chil­dren in Everett, Washington.  After high school, he went to work at the nearby Scott Paper Company in the ship­ping depart­ment.  “I couldn’t afford col­lege at the time,” Johnson said, “So the Army made sense. The Army taught me dis­ci­pline, lead­er­ship, respon­si­bil­ity, and con­vinced me that I had inner reserves.”

After ser­vice, First Lieutenant Johnson moved back to Everett and started work­ing for The Boeing Company on the first 747.  While he rec­og­nized the high qual­ity prod­uct that they were pro­duc­ing, he was not sat­is­fied with the lack of oppor­tu­nity to be rewarded for indi­vid­ual achieve­ment in the work­place.  With a strong work ethic, he felt that if he worked smarter and harder than the oth­ers, then he should be rewarded in kind.

From this real­iza­tion, he knew he wanted some­thing more. Johnson’s cousin told him to con­sider sales.  “Phil,” he said, “you look good, and you’ve got the gift of gab.  In sales, you can get an expense account and car allowance.”

Getting a Start
Johnson started his con­sumer prod­uct sales career with Scott Paper and stayed with them for four years.  He then went to work for Liggett & Myers Tobacco in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, but he was asked to move fre­quently and longed to return to Everett.

Johnson explained that his cousin, who talked him into sales in the first place, then hired him into the gro­cery whole­sale busi­ness.  He worked for his cousin and then later decided to open his own food bro­ker­age business.

The busi­ness did not work, but fail­ing became a great teacher,” Johnson said.  “When the busi­ness fal­tered, one of my clients, Good Host Foods, offered me a job sell­ing cof­fee to restau­rants.”  Johnson’s life moved in a new direction.

A New Opportunity
Back in the late 70’s when Johnson started work­ing for Good Host Foods, there was vir­tu­ally no gourmet cof­fee at the super­mar­ket level.  Good Host’s main busi­ness was insti­tu­tional cof­fee.   Johnson wanted to get back involved in con­sumer prod­uct sales at the retail level by tak­ing Good Host prod­ucts and putting them into the retail stores; but how could he com­pete with the major national brands and the strong west coast regional brands?

Our com­pany offered spe­cialty cof­fees and sold it to spe­cialty stores in 100 pound bags, so I asked myself, ‘How can gourmet brands com­pete in a pre-packaged mar­ket­place?’” Johnson said.

While research­ing the cof­fee aisle, he phys­i­cally ran into a Hoodie nut dis­play unit and the light bulb went off.  Coffee could flow through grav­ity fed dis­penser bins, the con­sumer could see the prod­uct, smell the prod­uct, and if the dis­play unit was built prop­erly, they could grind the prod­uct in the store to take home.

Johnson thought it was the only way he could com­pete and at the same time offer con­sumers a gourmet cof­fee prod­uct that hereto­fore was only avail­able in spe­cialty stores.

Millstone Coffee was Born
After a cou­ple of years, Good Host elected to sell their only US branch, giv­ing Johnson the oppor­tu­nity to acquire from them the retail gourmet cof­fee busi­ness that he suc­cess­fully devel­oped for them.  In 1981 he acquired the busi­ness, renamed it Millstone Coffee, and a new busi­ness was born.

Johnson was sure there was a cer­tain por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion that, if a gourmet cof­fee prod­uct were offered in a super­mar­ket set­ting, sales would increase for the retailer and pro­vide them with a profit mar­gin that they weren’t receiv­ing on national branded cof­fees, a prod­uct that had pre­vi­ously been a loss-leaders.

The premise was that Millstone would sup­ply and main­tain the equip­ment at the store level, deliver the prod­uct at the store level, mer­chan­dise the prod­uct, keep the dis­play unit clean, and ensure that the prod­uct was fresh.  The only thing the retailer had to do was check the prod­uct in at the back door and check the prod­uct out to the con­sumer at the front door at a healthy profit.

From Millstone Coffee to Cascade Coffee
Millstone Coffee rode the spe­cialty cof­fee wave from 1981 to 1995 when Johnson sold the com­pany to Proctor & Gamble.  At that time, the com­pany was national in scope and was grow­ing at about 30 per­cent per year.  Upon sell­ing the busi­ness to P&G, Johnson cre­ated Cascade Coffee and sold por­tions of it to his employ­ees, who then ran the com­pany.  They signed a con­tract with P&G to pro­duce prod­uct for them, and today, Cascade Coffee employs approx­i­mately 200 peo­ple and roasts cof­fee for some of the largest cof­fee com­pa­nies in the United States.

In the early years of Cascade’s devel­op­ment, Johnson stepped away from the busi­ness, learned how to grow cof­fee in Kona, and in the last few years, Johnson has rejoined the busi­ness, reunit­ing with the tal­ented core team he attrib­utes to the suc­cess of Millstone Coffee. Much to his delight, his son and his wife have joined the group in mak­ing Cascade Coffee one of the pre­mière con­tract man­u­fac­tur­ers in the country.

Johnson’s entry into the gourmet cof­fee busi­ness at the retail level led many con­sumers to dis­cover the won­der­ful bev­er­age of gourmet cof­fee.  The cat­e­gory has changed dra­mat­i­cally since the incep­tion of Johnson’s idea back in 1979.  The con­sumer is now used to gourmet cof­fee and accepts it in a ground, pre-pack form that is read­ily avail­able in super­mar­kets, in many vari­eties from many dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers.  Where in the early and mid-90’s, a super­mar­ket would have eight to 16 feet of bulk dis­penser units, they now have eight to 16 feet of pre-packed gourmet cof­fee.  The busi­ness con­tin­ues to evolve with the advent of sin­gle serve cof­fee that is still in its infancy.

Through it all, Cascade Coffee’s com­mit­ment to qual­ity and ser­vice keep them on the lead­ing edge of a still grow­ing industry.

Phil Johnson, Founder Millstone Coffee, CEO, Cascade Coffee, Inc.

Take the Initiative and Start Recycling

Categories: 2013, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

I’m sure all of you have heard that recy­cling that paper cup after you have con­sumed your dou­ble tall non­fat caramel latte will help save the planet. Recycling, how­ever, even more than that, is one of the best ways that you can make an impact on the planet on which we live. Utilizing and pro­mot­ing the use of sus­tain­able prod­ucts also aids in the life of our planet and the cof­fee industry.

According to, “Nearly 90 per­cent of what we throw away could poten­tially be recov­ered through reuse, recy­cling, or com­post­ing.” So with that being said, I now ask those within the cof­fee com­mu­nity, what can we do to recy­cle and sus­tain resources that are impor­tant to the suc­cess and func­tion of our industry?

Gabe Post, Director of Innovation and lead for the SUSTAIN project for Pacific Market International, LLC talks about the impor­tance of recy­cling. Post says, “The Earth’s resources are finite. It is impor­tant for con­sumers to rec­og­nize their role in the prod­uct con­sump­tion cycle, and to recy­cle items appro­pri­ately at their end-of-life. It is the manufacturer’s respon­si­bil­ity to design prod­ucts that are eas­ily recyclable.”

Post expresses the idea that it is a team effort to make a dif­fer­ence in the world when recy­cling. He says, “Together, we can build prod­uct cycles that con­serve energy and reduce car­bon foot­print and envi­ron­men­tal impact.”

Excessive pack­ag­ing has made its way to the cof­fee indus­try. When you go to a cof­fee shop you usu­ally get a one-time dis­pos­able cup – which would be okay if the con­sumer prop­erly recy­cled their cup when fin­ished. But the real­ity of it is, along with that cup, you get a cup sleeve to pro­tect your hand, a wooden stick to stir in your sugar, and the paper waste that stems from the sugar packets.

Post says, “Despite the indus­try going through great lengths to source sus­tain­able cof­fee, almost all of it is still being served in single-use dis­pos­able cups. In America last year alone, we land­filled 16 bil­lion paper cof­fee cups.”

All of these items can be replaced with a more effi­cient prod­uct that is envi­ron­men­tally friendly. Instead of sugar pack­ets, you could use a sugar jar. Instead of the wooden sticks, you can use metal spoons that can be washed at the end of the day. Companies today offer decom­pos­able cup sleeves and reusable cups.

John A. Darch, President and CEO of Doi Chaang Coffee says, “Any effort we can make – whether it’s a com­pany, a fam­ily, or an indi­vid­ual – towards improv­ing our envi­ron­ment and the world we live in, is cru­cial. We can’t dis­card every­thing we use into one spot any­more; the world just can’t han­dle those kinds of actions.” He says, “Whether it’s recy­cling, com­post­ing or con­serv­ing water – every lit­tle bit helps. It’s a way of show­ing respect to the world we live in.”

While these may seem like rel­a­tively small changes, you have to start some­where. However, it is impor­tant to look at the big­ger pic­ture here. How can com­pa­nies and busi­nesses within the cof­fee indus­try start to make a dif­fer­ence and increase their sus­tain­abil­ity efforts?

Post says, “Sustainability efforts suc­ceed most com­monly when they are baked into the NDA of the com­pany. It should be a part of who you are, not just what you do. Sustainability should be a part of the busi­ness strat­egy along with other key growth initiatives.”

When you can set goals and are able to track them, you know that you are doing some­thing right. People feel a sense of pride and accom­plish­ment when they see that the goals the com­pany is set­ting are being accom­plished with a lit­tle bit of their effort.

Did you know that 70 per­cent of cof­fee con­sump­tion is rou­tine? It is when this rou­tine becomes a more respon­si­ble rou­tine with the incor­po­ra­tion of recy­cling and the uti­liza­tion of sus­tain­able prod­ucts, where we will start to see last­ing impacts on the environment.

Post says, “Improving sus­tain­abil­ity in the cof­fee indus­try will help reduce the envi­ron­men­tal impact of the indus­try and con­tinue to influ­ence con­sumer aware­ness and ulti­mately behav­ior change in a pos­i­tive way.”

Darch explains his expe­ri­ence with becom­ing sus­tain­able, “It is reward­ing to engage in sus­tain­able prac­tices. To be able to pro­duce a prod­uct that is high qual­ity, but also pro­duced through eth­i­cally respon­si­ble steps will not only make you feel good – it will make your cus­tomers feel good about what they are drinking.”

Pacific Market International, LLC is just one of the many com­pa­nies striv­ing to make a dif­fer­ence. They have devel­oped a sys­tem whereby their reusable cups are recy­cled at the end of their life and then col­lected and reen­tered into their mate­r­ial sup­ply. The idea is to some­day have their cups be made out of old cups.

Beyond their SUSTAIN effort, Pacific Market International, LLC (PMI) has made sus­tain­abil­ity a part of their cor­po­rate strat­egy, includ­ing Environmental Stewardship as one of five busi­ness strat­egy pil­lars. Since 2005, year-on-year improve­ment has been achieved via con­certed efforts to improve the sus­tain­abil­ity of both man­u­fac­tur­ing processes and prod­ucts. In 2012, the PMI Joinease fac­tory that cur­rently man­u­fac­tures SUSTAIN cups reduced their per-unit green­house gas emis­sions by 25 per­cent while increas­ing pro­duc­tion by 37 percent.

Doi Chaang Coffee Company is also push­ing efforts to be more sus­tain­able. With the Keurig being a pop­u­lar and con­ve­nient machine to brew cof­fee, it is inevitable that kcup con­sump­tion, which is in the bil­lions, has a neg­a­tive envi­ron­men­tal impact. Doi Chaang Coffee has “just devel­oped the first ever “Beyond Fair TradeTM” sus­tain­able 90 per­cent biodegrad­able sin­gle serve aroma cup. The cups are Keurig com­pat­i­ble and will break down in any land­fill or dump­ster,” accord­ing to Darch.

StalkMarket is a com­pany that is talk­ing com­postable prod­ucts to a new level. Their core line of prod­ucts is made from a sug­ar­cane fiber-based paper­board called bagasse. The mate­r­ial is made from upcy­cled sug­ar­cane waste recov­ered from sugar refiner­ies. The crushed stalks are taken to a pro­cess­ing plant where they are con­verted into paper­board in much the same way as wood pulp is used for card­board. All of StalkMarket’s prod­ucts are 100 per­cent com­postable. Their prod­ucts are avail­able to con­sumers at major gro­cery chains, office sup­ply stores, organic and nat­ural food retail­ers and online. These prod­ucts would be a great asset to a café that is look­ing to become more green.

As a cof­fee lov­ing indi­vid­ual, who is con­stantly grab­bing and con­sum­ing cof­fee on the go, I will make sure that I will prop­erly recy­cle my latte cup every time I con­sume my favorite cup of cof­fee. Or, bet­ter yet, I will pur­chase a reusable cup and elim­i­nate the waste all together. What are you going to do?

If there are more indi­vid­u­als on the con­sum­ing end and more busi­nesses on the sup­ply­ing end that can come together to increase recy­cling and sus­tain­abil­ity efforts, the cof­fee indus­try would flour­ish in envi­ron­men­tal means.

Revisit your company’s busi­ness strate­gies, think about if you prop­erly deposit your to-go cup in the recy­cling bin, and imag­ine an indus­try work­ing together to make a dif­fer­ence on the envi­ron­ment. Make your next cus­tomer rela­tion­ship with the environment.

Social Media Madness

Categories: 2013, FebruaryTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

How many “friends” do you have? Do you “Tweet” reg­u­larly? What about “Yelp?” And when was the last time you “Pinned” an image? If you are scratch­ing your head about now, it’s time for Social Media 101.

But wait! Isn’t social media about sell­ing to con­sumers you ask? Remember, every busi­ness per­son to whom you sell is also a con­sumer! And, accord­ing to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2012 Report1, busi­nesses must broaden their def­i­n­i­tion of lead­er­ship to exe­cute on both the fun­da­men­tals of profit and soci­etal good. 2012 brought an unprece­dented nine-point decline in trust in gov­ern­ment, the report goes on to say. And As gov­ern­ment offi­cials are being seen as less cred­i­ble, so are CEO’s. More and more peo­ple are turn­ing to their peers. “A per­son like me” has re-emerged as one of the three most cred­i­ble spokes­peo­ple with its biggest increase in cred­i­bil­ity since 2004.

B2C vs B2B
So how do you use Social Media for your busi­ness? Simply put, busi­ness today is all about rela­tion­ships. Social Media gives busi­nesses large and small an even play­ing field to build con­nec­tions and cus­tomer loy­alty. Facebook is par­tic­u­larly use­ful to lis­ten to your cus­tomers’ needs, cre­ate trust, estab­lish author­ity, and con­nect on a more per­sonal level while remain­ing con­sis­tent with your brand. You can also use it to build new leads and even check out your competition.

2_13 6-A

Social Media makes us “real” to our cus­tomers. But remem­ber, if you want peo­ple to fol­low you and/or your com­pany, you must go beyond the lat­est prod­uct news and share your per­son­al­ity with them.

What is Social Media?
According to Wikipedia, refers to the means of inter­ac­tions among peo­ple in which they cre­ate, share, exchange con­tents among them­selves in vir­tual com­mu­ni­ties and net­works. The most used and well-known exam­ples include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+. However there are dozens of Social Media sites and tools out there with mil­lions of users. Though this list is not com­pre­hen­sive, here is a list of the most pop­u­lar with the num­ber of users as of January 30, 2013 from (where else) the internet2!
–    1.06 Billion – Monthly Active Facebook Users
–    800 Million – YouTube Users (4 Billion Views per Day)
–    500 Million – Total Twitter Users (200 Million Active Users)
–    400 Million – Registered Google+ Users
–    280 Million – Skype Users
–    200 Million – LinkedIn Users
–    100 Million+ – Dropbox Users
–    90 Million – Instagram Users

Other SM Fast Facts:
–    More peo­ple have dig­i­tal iden­ti­ties than pass­ports
–    Asia now has sur­passed Europe in Facebook users (278 mil­lion vs. 251 mil­lion)
–    The Google+ but­ton is used 5 bil­lion times per day
–    “Student” is the num­ber one occu­pa­tion of Google+ users
–    48 per­cent of Fortune Global 100 com­pa­nies use Google+
–    LinkedIn has 2 new signups per sec­ond
–    175 mil­lion Tweets are sent daily
–    4 bil­lion hours of video are watched monthly on YouTube
–    51% of peo­ple aged 25–34 used social net­work­ing in the office, more than any other age group
–    People con­tinue to spend more time on social net­works than any other cat­e­gory of sites—20% of their time spent on PCs and 30% of their mobile time
–    Social Media has over­taken pornog­ra­phy as the No. 1 activ­ity on the web
–    The pop­u­lar­ity of var­i­ous social net­works will change but the desire to com­mu­ni­cate within a social net­work will not
–    With grow­ing skep­ti­cism, rep­e­ti­tion has become even more impor­tant to estab­lish trust and credibility

So what does all of this mean to you and your busi­ness? The time has come to firmly estab­lish your company’s online iden­tity.  With that in mind, here are the top ques­tions mar­keters are (or should be) asking3:

•    How do I mea­sure the ROI of my social media mar­ket­ing?
•    How do I find my tar­get audi­ence with social media?
•    What are the best ways to engage my audi­ence?
•    How do I sell with social media?
•    How should I best use my time to max­i­mize my social media results?
•    How do I cre­ate a social media strat­egy?
•    What social media tac­tics are the most effec­tive?
•    What are the best social media man­age­ment tools?
•    How much time is required to main­tain an effec­tive social media cam­paign?
•    Where can I find the answer to these questions?

Watch for our series on Social Media Tools for Success in future issues!

1    Edelman Trust Barometer 2012 Report –

Digital Latte: Drinking Coffee with my Smart Phone — New Mobile Platforms Enabling Coffee Shops to go Digital

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Look­ing back on 2012, there were many events that dom­i­nated the news cycles. Besides the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Hurricane Sandy and the state of the econ­omy, one of the most closely watched sto­ries by media of all stripes was Facebook’s IPO in May.

There were many rea­sons, but it had such great appeal because of how much Facebook has become a part of the daily lives of a sev­enth of the world pop­u­la­tion. More than half of Facebook’s 1.01 bil­lion users access their news feeds daily, and accord­ing to the com­pany in its most recent earn­ings report, the num­ber of users access­ing their feeds from mobile devices increased 61% from September 2011 to September 2012.  Another rea­son for the media inter­est is how addict­ing Facebook is to so many users: According to Edison Research, 23% of Facebook’s users check their account five or more times daily and the mean num­ber of daily log-ins by Facebook users is four.

The Facebook IPO, and sub­se­quent chron­i­cling of the path of its stock price high­lighted an even larger busi­ness story this year—the matu­rity of the social media mar­ket over­all. While the jury is out on Facebook, the IPO’s of other com­pa­nies like Groupon have said a great deal about the chal­lenge these com­pa­nies face prov­ing out their busi­ness models.

Social Media: The World’s Digital Mall
People don’t just use social media to post pic­tures of their kids or what they are hav­ing for lunch. In fact, more and more con­sumers rely on social media to influ­ence their pur­chas­ing deci­sions. According to the same Edison Research sur­vey ref­er­enced above, last year 32% of Americans using social net­works said that those net­works had an influ­ence on their buy­ing deci­sions. This year, 65% said that social net­works influ­enced their deci­sions.  Also, 47% say Facebook has the great­est impact on pur­chase behav­ior (up from 24% in 2011).

It’s not only Facebook that has an impact.
•    56% of con­sumers share pur­chases on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites
•    59% of Pinterest users have pur­chased items they saw on the site
•    33% of Facebook users have pur­chased an item saw on their news feed or a friend’s Timeline
•    79% of Pinterest users are more likely to pur­chase items they’ve seen on Pinterest

The Coffee Industry has always had a social and com­mu­nity com­po­nent; long before online shop­ping, social media or mobile apps, cof­fee shops were gath­er­ing places to inter­act with oth­ers.  The chal­lenge for us today is to extend our local cof­fee com­mu­nity through social media and mobile tools that allow us to drive busi­ness and increase con­sumer par­tic­i­pa­tion with our brands.  This explains the sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment made by Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts in par­tic­u­lar on social media mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and mobile apps. What these giants have shown is how to very effec­tively build a mas­sive social media fol­low­ing and tie it together with loy­alty pro­grams across plat­forms to drive business.

The linch­pin for both these pio­neers has been mobile. Starbucks’ mobile appli­ca­tion has pow­ered more than 29 mil­lion trans­ac­tions to date. The appli­ca­tion effec­tively ties together loy­alty and offers a mobile wal­let and pay­ment mech­a­nism that gives it even more vis­i­bil­ity into the habits and pref­er­ences of its cus­tomers. This in turn allows it to mar­ket in a more per­sonal way—including through social media—and con­nect emo­tion­ally with its cus­tomers through “feel good” posts that gen­er­ate an aver­age of 15,000 Facebook Likes. It also allows social media to be inte­grated into every one of its campaigns.

Take, for exam­ple, Starbucks’s December “12 Days of Gifting” cam­paign. The mobile app was one pro­mo­tional chan­nel that allowed cus­tomers to opt-in via text. Customers were then pointed to its cam­paign Web page and invited to con­nect to its Holiday Facebook app. On the same page, cus­tomers could access each of the “12 Days” offers.

As this exam­ple shows, Starbucks pio­neered the abil­ity to gain tremen­dous vis­i­bil­ity into the pur­chasers of its loy­alty and gift cards by bring­ing them to its mobile app, through which it can receive offers and make pur­chases (with a strong social media component).

Aside from major brands, most mer­chants have no vis­i­bil­ity into who pur­chased the gift or loy­alty card or who the ulti­mate recip­i­ent is. This lack of vis­i­bil­ity rep­re­sents sig­nif­i­cant loss of oppor­tu­nity for brands to dis­trib­ute tar­geted pro­mo­tions, incen­tives, dis­counts and spe­cial offers to their best cus­tomers. As these new mobile plat­forms emerge, smaller brands that take advan­tage of them will be able to make direct con­tact with the card buyer and the card recip­i­ent. This one to one rela­tion­ship increases brand aware­ness, ampli­fies con­sumer mind­share and engages cus­tomers in real-time.

These new mobile plat­forms will include a con­sumer mobile app that inte­grates shop­ping, gift­ing and loy­alty solu­tions with users’ real-time loca­tion, pref­er­ence and friend data. This empow­ers mer­chants to pro­vide rel­e­vant and timely infor­ma­tion to cus­tomers to help them get bet­ter offers and local­ize the expe­ri­ence. Merchants ben­e­fit from a direct-to-consumer mar­ket­ing chan­nel informed by rich data across retail­ers, gift lists cre­ated by the app user and their Facebook friends, past responses to offers and geo-location infor­ma­tion. Today, white label plat­forms that include a reg­is­tra­tion process are emerg­ing, so that gift card buy­ers and recipients—as well as loy­alty card holders—are no longer anony­mous, enabling brands to iden­tify and engage more of their customers.

Nearly all roast­ers and mer­chants under­stand the value of estab­lish­ing pro­grams to breed cus­tomer engage­ment and loy­alty while increas­ing rev­enues. They also under­stand that social media chan­nels have moved from “nice to have” to “must have.” The chal­lenge now is find­ing the tools that inte­grate the two together in a way that includes mobile mar­ket­ing as a very strong component.

Only through a white-label and inte­grated, func­tional plat­form can cof­fee retail­ers of any size effec­tively develop a mobile engage­ment strat­egy that gen­er­ates rev­enue with­out hav­ing to build it all from the ground up. This will help mer­chants and roast­ers real­ize the poten­tial of highly tar­geted, per­son­al­ized, local and action­able pro­mo­tional cam­paigns and mes­sag­ing to the indi­vid­ual consumer.

While the big guys got off to a great start in 2012, once the thou­sands of cof­fee shop com­mu­ni­ties around the coun­try unleash the dig­i­tal tools now avail­able, the smaller guys will be the ones to come up with the big ideas for 2013 and ‘14. What we’ll see in 2013 is the emer­gence of white-labeled plat­forms for all other mer­chants and roast­ers that want the same capa­bil­i­ties of the big retail­ers but lack bud­get, time and know-how.

12_12 8-AEntrepreneur and Investor, The for­mer CEO of Swiss Farm Stores and Saxbys Coffee Company,  Paul Friel is pres­i­dent of Entourage Partners LLC an Angel invest­ment group located in Philadelphia that helps early stage com­pa­nies.  Entourage has invest­ments in the mobile pay­ment and retail POS categories.

POS Systems">Six Reasons Why Coffee Shop Owners Are Switching to iPad POS Systems

Categories: 2012, DecemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

12_12 31-ADecid­ing to use a cloud-based tablet POS sys­tem instead of an old fash­ioned cash reg­is­ter or win­dows based PC is becom­ing less of a trendy choice and more of a neces­sity for retail­ers look­ing to make smarter busi­ness decisions.

Because iPad point of sale sys­tems have sig­nif­i­cantly lower costs, are safer due to cloud stor­age and enhance the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, mer­chants that come on board using a tablet-based POS over tra­di­tional cash reg­is­ters will have sig­nif­i­cant retail­ing advantages.

iPad POS sys­tems pro­vide pow­er­ful fea­tures like real time sales report­ing that goes way beyond any­thing a tra­di­tional cash reg­is­ter can offer. iPad POS also allows mer­chants to con­trol every­thing from inven­tory man­age­ment to the col­lec­tion of cus­tomer infor­ma­tion for mar­ket­ing pur­poses, all in one place and in a small, sleek package.

Small busi­ness own­ers are busy peo­ple, and don’t have time to read through the hun­dreds of rea­sons why I, as a for­mer retailer myself, believe that iPad POS sys­tems are the best option, so I’ve included the top six. These were the points that really drove it home for me when I became so frus­trated with my expen­sive POS sys­tem that I was forced to cre­ate my own cloud-based system:

1. The Safety and Security of the Cloud: Anyone who spends a year run­ning a busi­ness can write a book about unex­pected dis­as­ters. Merchants know that prob­lems will arise, but it is impos­si­ble to pre­dict whether it will be a threat from hack­ers or Mother Nature. With an iPad point of sale sys­tem, all infor­ma­tion is stored in the cloud, reliev­ing the stress of stor­ing valu­able infor­ma­tion on com­put­ers sus­cep­ti­ble to any num­ber of inci­dents includ­ing flood­ing, being dropped or stolen. There is also no need to fret about the cost of upgrad­ing hard­ware or run­ning out of space as you store more cus­tomer and inven­tory infor­ma­tion on your sys­tem. Cloud-based data is encrypted and secure.

2. It’s Just So Easy: “Wait a sec, which but­ton do I press to open the reg­is­ter? And what if there’s no sale?” Anyone who has trained employ­ees on how to use a cash reg­is­ter has heard these ques­tions dozens of times. iPad POS sys­tems are as easy to use as, well… as an iPad. Training takes sec­onds, and ring­ing up cus­tomers is just as quick. With nearly unlim­ited cus­tomiza­tion, you can design your POS so that each inter­ac­tion can be just a few taps of a screen.

3. Freedom: There will be no more of those nights wak­ing up in a cold sweat won­der­ing how many lattes you sold that day or whether you’ll have enough ice cream cones for the Saturday rush. You can mon­i­tor your busi­ness from any­where with an iPad POS as long as you have a com­puter or a smart­phone. Check to see how the day’s sales are going or mon­i­tor and reorder inven­tory from the gym or, even bet­ter, the beach.

4. Customer Information: Through loy­alty rewards pro­grams and emailed receipts, you can eas­ily cap­ture cus­tomer email addresses at the point of sale by hav­ing them enter their infor­ma­tion on the iPad. This infor­ma­tion can be used to fur­ther develop loy­alty pro­grams and to keep cus­tomers in the loop on what is new in the shop.

5. Options: Most iPad point of sale sys­tems are about pro­vid­ing mer­chants the oppor­tu­nity to build their busi­nesses with no lim­its and choices rang­ing from which mobile pay­ment sys­tems to inte­grate to where they put but­tons on their cash reg­is­ters to which credit card pay­ment proces­sor they use. ShopKeep POS is always happy to rec­om­mend a reli­able and inex­pen­sive proces­sor, or you can shop around and pick the proces­sor that has the best rates and meets your needs.

6. Platform for the Future: An iPad POS sys­tem is not just about the free­dom of hav­ing access to real-time data from any­where, it is a plat­form that will con­tinue to be devel­oped and built on. Meaning the solu­tions will only get bet­ter and more pow­er­ful, con­tin­u­ally inte­grat­ing new fea­tures that will help mer­chants make smarter busi­ness deci­sions that grow their businesses.

Jason Richelson is founder and CEO of ShopKeep POS, a com­plete iPad POS solu­tion for high-volume small businesses.

In Memoriam

Categories: 2012, NovemberTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

The cof­fee indus­try pays respect to and remem­bers with great admi­ra­tion the life of a man who played a very for­ma­tive role in the devel­op­ment and advance­ment of spe­cialty cof­fee. Salim Janna, or “Salo” as many of his friends called him, started his cof­fee career by join­ing the Colombian Coffee Federation in Bogotá in June, 1983. Shortly there­after, he received his first pro­mo­tion and was trans­ferred to the Colombian Coffee Federation in New York where a few short months later he was appointed President.

Salim was one of the pio­neers and pro­mot­ers of the 100% Colombian Coffee pro­gram. He led an adver­tis­ing and pro­mo­tional cam­paign which posi­tioned Juan Valdez among the most rec­og­nized icons in the US, and Colombian Coffee among the top qual­ity cof­fees in the world.

In 1995, he and his wife Marcela decided to move their fam­ily back home to Colombia. Salim wanted to con­tinue his career in cof­fee and decided to invest in Café Condor. In 1996, Salim became its CEO and major­ity investor and under his lead­er­ship the com­pany became a pio­neer­ing exporter of spe­cialty coffee.

Salim was actively involved with the SCAA where he par­tic­i­pated in the International Relations Committee as well as on the board of direc­tors. He was also one of the founders of the Colombian Specialty Association. His pas­sion for qual­ity showed in his many con­tri­bu­tions to the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), where he served as respected trustee for a period of thir­teen con­sec­u­tive years, until he retired from the board two years ago. He was very instru­men­tal in help­ing CQI to attain many of its suc­cesses and his wis­dom and coun­sel were highly val­ued. He was a straight shooter whose com­mit­ment to qual­ity was unwavering.

Salim was a go-getter. He would break­fast in Bogotá, be seen at an after­noon meet­ing in New York, and later dine with clients in L.A before tak­ing the red-eye back to Miami or Barranquilla. His intrin­sic sense for oppor­tu­ni­ties com­bined with his tenac­ity and deter­mi­na­tion made him a suc­cess­ful entre­pre­neur at a very young age. He invested in the port of Barranquilla as well as in coal min­ing in Colombia’s inte­rior where he acquired a coal trad­ing com­pany, serv­ing as its CEO. He also served on sev­eral boards in the energy indus­try and health care sec­tor in Colombia. When Salim was engaged in an indus­try he com­mit­ted him­self to mak­ing it bet­ter, and to mak­ing a difference.

He had an insa­tiable appetite for learn­ing and would share with friends and col­leagues the case study learn­ings from his annual sojourns to Harvard Business School’s exec­u­tive edu­ca­tion pro­grams. He was very pas­sion­ate about the impor­tance of life­long learn­ing and to work­ing hard to achieve your goals. He cer­tainly mod­eled those values.

Yet, for all the accom­plish­ments of his career, the sin­gle most impor­tant focus of his life, and the only real mea­sure of suc­cess that was impor­tant to him was the love of his fam­ily. Salim’s wife Marcela and his three sons, Nicolas, Julian and Gabriel were the cen­ter of his uni­verse and the source of his joy and inspi­ra­tion. He beamed when he spoke of them and was so very proud of the life they shared. Salim was a devoted and lov­ing hus­band and father. He had a heart that was big­ger than his entire body and it over­flowed with gen­eros­ity and warmth and acceptance.

And so, we pay trib­ute to the con­tri­bu­tions of an indus­try leader who so many of us had the priv­i­lege of call­ing friend. Let us honor his mem­ory by our stead­fast pur­suit of qual­ity and in our under­stand­ing of what is really impor­tant in life. We shall carry him our hearts always.

& Sales">Roasting Accessories — Increasing Efficiency, Quality, & Sales

Categories: 2012, AugustTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Master­ing the art and sci­ence of roast­ing is not an easy task. There are many vari­ables to take into con­sid­er­a­tion. How will you best accen­tu­ate the idio­syn­cratic char­ac­ter­is­tics of the beans? How will this cof­fee be brewed? What are con­sumers look­ing for? All these fac­tors are under the Roast master’s dis­cre­tion. However, what about the equip­ment, tools and acces­sories that can aid the roast­ing process? Are there any tools that can help you increase effi­ciency, ensure qual­ity, and main­tain consistency?

Increase Efficiency
Improving effi­ciency should be a con­cern of every Roaster regard­less of the size. However, for a medium size to com­mer­cial roaster, effi­ciency, or the lack thereof, has a sub­stan­tial impact on oper­a­tional costs. One of the biggest con­cerns as a grow­ing roaster becomes ‘how can we move things from point A to point B using the least amount of energy, time, and labor?’ This is when installing con­vey­ors is opti­mal. According to Jeff Dudas, CEO of Spiroflow “Some of the main ben­e­fits of automat­ing con­vey­ing are the decrease of labor costs; improve­ment of san­i­tary con­di­tions; dust con­trol; improved effi­ciency; and reduced energy con­sump­tion.” In addi­tion, “Conveyor’s will avoid repet­i­tive stress injuries employ­ees may suf­fer dur­ing the oper­at­ing process,” says Dudas. According to Karl Seidel, Marketing Manager at Cablevey Conveyors, “Getting effi­cient means con­stantly exam­in­ing and improv­ing upon processes. Getting a grasp of what those effi­cien­cies are for your unique brand is what build­ing a busi­ness is all about. A con­veyor is one small part of the mix – but it’s a busi­ness deci­sion based on effi­ciency, safety and your abil­ity and will­ing­ness to grow your business.”

Moreover, many roast­ers are try­ing to diver­sify by pro­vid­ing not only dif­fer­ent ori­gins and roasts, but also fla­vored cof­fees for con­sumers. One of the lat­est trends Dudas sees is “Companies are inter­ested in adding fla­vors and vit­a­mins.” For this, “Spiroflow pro­vides Flexible Screw Conveyors that will auto­mate that process by adding the mixed ingre­di­ents to the ground coffee.”

Increase Quality
To increase qual­ity, as well as ensure con­sis­tency, the Agtron scale or tiles are essen­tial. Carl Staub, President of Agtron says, “We want to make peo­ple aware that they can have more con­trol over the roast­ing process.” Staub con­tin­ues to explain; “The M-BASIC II does not look at the color of the cof­fee or the light­ness or dark­ness of a sam­ple. Instead, it mea­sures the amount of near-infrared energy at spe­cific wave­lengths reflected from the sur­face of a sam­ple. The wave­lengths selected relate to com­pounds that directly cor­re­late to the devel­op­ment of sol­u­ble organ­ics.” Since the fla­vor of cof­fee is related to sol­u­ble organ­ics, by ignor­ing color and con­cen­trat­ing on the devel­op­ment of organic com­pounds, the M-BASIC II is capa­ble of iden­ti­fy­ing sub­tle changes intro­duced by var­i­ous roast­ing strate­gies. It also pro­vides a much more accu­rate and repeat­able method for mon­i­tor­ing roast consistency.

The Agtron scale is not tar­geted only to big com­mer­cial roast­ers. It is designed for any roaster that wants to cre­ate an excep­tional cup. According to Staub, “We were sur­prised to learn that 40% of Agtron scales are sold to spe­cialty roast­ers that roast around 12 kilos” Roasters that are moti­vated by more than con­sis­tency but achiev­ing excel­lent qual­ity should be look­ing to use this device.

Another impor­tant step in ensur­ing qual­ity, as well as cre­at­ing dif­fer­ent roast pro­files is sam­ple roast­ing. Sample roast­ing allows you to deter­mine the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the bean and qual­ity, while exper­i­ment­ing around with roast degrees. Some of the most widely used sam­ple roaster brands are Probat and Sample Pro by Coffee Direct Pro. Nevertheless, sam­ple roast­ers can be expen­sive. A good and cost effec­tive option is using a home roaster that will still give you a good impres­sion of the cof­fee. According to Marisue Drumm, National Sales Manager at Nesco, “The Nesco Coffee bean roaster is designed to roast small batches of raw cof­fee beans…Warm air com­bined with a pow­er­ful agi­ta­tor cre­ate an even roast and uni­form color.”

In addi­tion, Drumm sug­gests diver­si­fy­ing income sources “By offer­ing a home roast­ing prod­uct, roast­ers also have the abil­ity to sell raw beans directly to con­sumers, which can expand their sales.” Be aware of your con­sumer; deter­mine what they are look­ing for and find ways to expand your prod­uct offer­ing accord­ing to their needs.

Increasing qual­ity, effi­ciency, and sales is a con­stant effort our indus­try is look­ing to achieve. However, it is not an easy task to ensure your roast­ing busi­ness is con­stantly thriv­ing to achieve these goals. “Roasters respond best to offer­ings that pro­vide them with the flex­i­bil­ity and con­trol needed to achieve a con­sis­tent high-quality prod­uct,” says Matt Cook, President of LBP Manufacturing, Inc.  “As a solu­tions provider, we under­stand that it’s all about stay­ing true to the integrity of the bean because – now more than ever – that’s how cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion is built and main­tained.” Having the right tools and equip­ment is an invest­ment that will help save time, money, and energy while improv­ing your processes and meth­ods. Not only is this essen­tial to be a prof­itable busi­ness, but also to guar­an­tee cus­tomer satisfaction.

Impacting Coffee NGOs Worldwide

Categories: 2012, JulyTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Contact Name: Darryl Blunk

Location: Various Coffee Growing Countries
Email Address:
Phone Number: 562−309−0447

Project Description

Apffels Fine Coffee has a rich his­tory in sup­port­ing not only our local com­mu­nity but also our industry’s efforts to sup­port our busi­ness part­ners in the cof­fee­lands. For years we’ve sup­ported the cof­fee NGOs, and have con­tributed what we could. But we wanted to do more and wanted to broaden our reach. Rather than just choos­ing a sin­gle NGO or two for a dona­tion, we wanted to engage our employ­ees and even our clients.

President and CEO, Darryl Blunk recalls being inspired to take the first step, “I was lis­ten­ing to the Marketplace show on pub­lic radio and the CEO of Patagonia was shar­ing how they started to give back and now he finds him­self help­ing oth­ers under­stand the strate­gic nature of their phil­an­thropy. I was struck by one com­ment, ‘It’s never per­fect, but just start.’ And so we have.”

Now using the Profits 4 Purpose soft­ware tool, we have a plat­form to intro­duce our employ­ees to ways to directly ben­e­fit cof­fee work­ers in ori­gin. We are orga­niz­ing Webcasts so that every­one in our com­pany gets a chance to meet rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the NGOs and learn how just a few dol­lars can make a huge impact on a cof­fee fam­ily. This per­sonal con­nec­tion will empower them to sup­port the causes that speak to their hearts. Profits 4 Purpose lets them go to our plat­form and donate directly to that cause.

The project will be broad­ened to include our clients and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers as well. Afternoon cof­fee gath­er­ings will allow us to show­case our impact and hope­fully will inspire our guests to take action as well.

Who Benefits From This Project?

The most obvi­ous ben­e­fi­cia­ries from our project are those who receive ser­vices from the cof­fee NGOs. Our employ­ees will be bet­ter edu­cated on how we can make a dif­fer­ence in ori­gin in a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent ways. Rather than Apffels Fine Coffees being the sole decider of what pro­grams we sup­port, each employee will have their per­sonal voice in mak­ing a dif­fer­ence. We are going to sup­port more NGOs and thus their clients than we could with our old way.

Apffels ben­e­fits too. Our already loyal employ­ees feel pride in our impact and their abil­ity to con­tribute to it. Including their input and par­tic­i­pa­tion, boosts employee morale.

It’s good for sales too. Social impact strength­ens a company’s integrity and cred­i­bil­ity. If busi­nesses help their com­mu­nity, in turn, the com­mu­nity will want to help the busi­nesses – it is a cycle from which every­one prof­its. According to research done by Cone Inc., 85% of Americans would rather do busi­ness with a com­pany that is cause-related, and 74% of peo­ple are more likely to rec­om­mend to oth­ers a com­pany that gives back to the community.

One final ben­e­fit is that Profits 4 Purpose pro­vides a sim­pli­fied sys­tem to man­age com­mu­nity involve­ment and mea­sure, track, and com­mu­ni­cate our social impact with their city. “For decades we’ve been sup­port­ing the John Tracy Clinic, founded by Spencer Tracy in LA, but nobody except the founder really knew about it,” explains Darryl Bunk. “Now we can share that story and count­less oth­ers like it.”

How Can I Help?

Join Apffels Fine Coffees in the effort to work together and col­lab­o­rate. If we join forces rather than work in indi­vid­ual silos, and if we engage our employ­ees and clients we can really make a difference.

You may uncover poten­tially some­thing that you didn’t even know existed.” says Darryl. In the words that inspired him, giv­ing back has strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance, and your imple­men­ta­tion will never be per­fect, but just start! Start by con­tact­ing

“Kick the Can” – Coffee Packaging Innovations">Kick the Can” – Coffee Packaging Innovations

Categories: 2012, MayTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Author:

Roast­ers metic­u­lously select the green beans and then care­fully roast them to bring out the aro­mas and fla­vors, so that ulti­mately their cus­tomers can enjoy a per­fect cup of cof­fee. However, as we all know, these prop­er­ties degrade over time. Oxygen and mois­ture affect the qual­ity of roasted cof­fee, and after a cou­ple weeks, your mas­ter­ful cre­ation will become stale. For this rea­son, select­ing the right kind of pack­ag­ing can guar­an­tee that your cus­tomer will get a high qual­ity prod­uct. However, with the plethora of pack­ag­ing options out there, what type of pack­ag­ing should you select? And what are the best prac­tices and meth­ods involved in the selec­tion and label­ing of packaging?

Why Packaging Matters

According to Mark Howley, Chairman and CEO of PBi (Pacific Bag) “Coffee is adversely affected by oxida­tive ran­cid­ity. It is gen­er­ally believed cof­fee taste will degrade within 10–14 days after roast­ing if cof­fee is exposed to oxy­gen. Packaging has a huge impact or effect on qual­ity if dis­tri­b­u­tion time extends beyond a week or so.” In addi­tion, Guy Wray, Marketing Manager at MOCON Inc. says “Launch a prod­uct with­out ade­quate pack­ag­ing and you’ll see the per­me­ation of water vapor and/or oxy­gen in or out of the pack­age, and that can rob the prod­uct of fla­vor, color, and taste. In this case the prod­uct fails, not because it wasn’t a good, but because it was poorly pack­aged and had too short a shelf life.”

The selec­tion of the proper bar­rier pack­ag­ing for the expected shelf-life is crit­i­cal since the fla­vors can be lost by using the wrong type of pack­ag­ing” Says Robert Pocius pres­i­dent of TekPak. So the first and prob­a­bly most impor­tant fac­tor you should deter­mine with your sup­plier is the bar­rier level of the pack­ag­ing (from oxy­gen and moisture).

Types of Packaging

There are var­i­ous pack­ag­ing styles to select from: Bags; metal cans; glass jars; and in the past cou­ple of years we have seen the rise in demand for the sin­gle serve, and in cor­re­spon­dence the pack­ag­ing for it. In the bag sec­tion, the main styles are: Stand out pouch, Paper tin tie, Side gus­seted bag, or Quad seal bag.

When select­ing the type of pack­ag­ing you want to use it is impor­tant to take the fol­low­ing fac­tors into con­sid­er­a­tion: Barrier level; resis­tance of the mate­r­ial so that it can endure any ship­ping and han­dling; pro­tec­tion from exter­nal odors; heat seal strength; and FDA approval of the pack­ag­ing. According to Joy Weedon, Sales and Marketing Manager for Pack Plus Converting “If you are pack­ag­ing freshly roasted cof­fee, you def­i­nitely need to go with a foil bag with a one-way degassing valve to extend the shelf life and allow the roasted cof­fee to de-gas. Unlike a tin tie paper bag, a foil bag can be heat-sealed mak­ing it air tight and tam­per proof.” In addi­tion, Jeffrey Teich, Vice President, of North Atlantic Specialty Bag says, “A multi-layer struc­ture, as well as the use of a one way degassing valve, will give cof­fee the fresh­est flavor.”

Another impor­tant fac­tor to con­sider when select­ing pack­ag­ing is fla­vored cof­fee. “Some ingre­di­ents in fla­vored cof­fees can affect pack­age integrity, so it is impor­tant to select pack­ag­ing that is par­tic­u­larly designed to han­dle these prod­ucts” says Heather Beaubien, Sales Manager at Printpack, Inc. In order to get opti­mal results, it is essen­tial to com­mu­ni­cate to your sup­pli­ers all the aspects regard­ing your cof­fee, and the goals and expec­ta­tions you have for your product.

Depending on the size and quan­tity of your pro­duc­tion, you might decide to auto­mate the pack­ag­ing process. As your com­pany grows, you may want to con­sider automat­ing parts of this process if you are seek­ing to increase out­put by 2 to 3 times. According to Bob Kelly, President of General Packaging Equipment Co. “As a pack­ag­ing machin­ery man­u­fac­turer our task is to sup­ply equip­ment that will form fill seal pack­ages reli­ably. That is, the machines will run with a min­i­mum of atten­tion, accu­rately meter the prod­uct into the pack­ages and make attrac­tive pack­ages with seals that do not leak.”

Finally, for the test­ing and analy­sis of your pack­ag­ing, “Use MOCON’s MultiCheck sys­tem to reduce your pack­age test­ing costs by using just one pack­age to cover all 4 tests” says Guy Wray, Marketing Manager at MOCON Inc.
This is a great way to avoid dis­tri­b­u­tion of inad­e­quately pack­aged coffee.

De-gassing Coffee

After roast­ing, cof­fee releases CO2, up to 1000 cc per pound. Fresh whole beans will release gases for sev­eral weeks after roast­ing. While many Roasters might allow their cof­fee to de-gas in stor­age by let­ting it sit for 72-hours before pack­ag­ing, valves allow you to pack­age your roasted cof­fee right away. The main pur­pose of a valve, such as the one-way degassing valve, is to allow these gases to escape, with­out allow­ing any exter­nal gases, such as oxy­gen, to come in. According to Nick Greco, Business Development Manager, at Avery Dennison Designed and Engineered Solutions “The Avery Dennison Flexis™ Air for Coffee valve, for exam­ple, helps elim­i­nates the brick­ing effect that occurs when pack­aged cof­fee trav­els over high ele­va­tions, such as the Rocky Mountains.”

On the other hand, Modified Atmospheric Packaging (M.A.P.), refers to a Roaster who within a few hours of roast­ing, evac­u­ates the bag of all oxy­gen, and flushes it with inert gas such as nitro­gen (to fill the voids that used to be taken up by air), and then ther­mally seals the bag. This is all done by spe­cial­ized food-processing equipment.

Packaging As a Marketing Tool

As a roaster you may not have a huge bud­get, if any, set up for mar­ket­ing and pro­mo­tional pur­poses. Therefore, pack­ag­ing becomes your pri­mary medium of com­mu­ni­ca­tion with your cus­tomers, and can play fun­da­men­tal role in how you get your mes­sage across. “Use pack­ag­ing as your bill­board to get the mes­sage out about your prod­uct” Says Teich. In addi­tion, Joy Weedon says, “A great shelf appeal gets you that first pur­chase and hope­fully the great cof­fee inside cements a repeat purchase.”

This is box title
Thickness mea­sure­ments
MIl – 1 mil = 1/1,000 inch = 0.001 inch
Gage – 1 ga = 1/100,000 inch = 0.00001 inch
Pacific Bag, SCAA Packaging: 201

This is box title
Flexible Packaging Materials
• Polyester (PET) – Clear tough, abra­sion resis­tant, print­able, tem­per­a­ture resis­tant, mois­ture resis­tant.
• Aluminum Foil (Foil) – The best oxy­gen and mois­ture bar­rier, sil­ver color.
• Metallized Polyester (Met Pet) – Vacuum metab­o­lized for oxy­gen and mois­ture bar­rier.
• Polyethylene (PE) – Seal layer, bulk, mois­ture bar­rier – LLDPE, LDPE.
EZO or Easy Open – Blend of OE and some­thing that doesn’t seal PE for peel seal, bulk, mois­ture bar­rier.
• Biaxially Oriented Nylon (BON) – Puncture resis­tant, tear resis­tant, chem­i­cal bar­rier, medium oxy­gen bar­rier.
Pacific Bag, SCAA Packaging: 201

According to Rodrigo Sanchez, Vice President of Masipack “’There is no sec­ond chance to make a first good impres­sion,’ so choos­ing the right label­ing for your prod­uct is an impor­tant step to take into con­sid­er­a­tion.” When select­ing the col­ors, mes­sage, images, mate­r­ial, etc. for or your pack­ag­ing, ask your­self, what mes­sage do you want to com­mu­ni­cate to your cus­tomer? What do you want peo­ple to per­ceive from your cof­fee? “The qual­ity of the cof­fee can also be equated with the qual­ity of the visu­als – high qual­ity graph­ics indi­cate to a con­sumer that there is a high qual­ity prod­uct inside” says Beaubien.

There are many cre­ative ways you can mar­ket your brand through your pack­ag­ing, Beaubien from print pack sug­gests: “2-D scan codes, which con­sumers can scan with their smart­phones for more infor­ma­tion. This adds an extra dimen­sion of expe­ri­ence for the con­sumer that can lead to repeat pur­chases.” In addi­tion, Chris Burger, Coffee Market Manager at Fres-co System USA, Inc. adds, “It is easy to inte­grate pro­mo­tions, and con­nect with your con­sumers through social media beyond the cup of cof­fee; and get their feed­back to improve your prod­uct, pack­age, ser­vice, and gain insight from your con­sumers.” Find ways to be cre­ative with your pack­ag­ing, and make sure to engage your cus­tomers as part of your brand­ing strategy.

When label­ing, Burger sug­gest tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion “The guide­lines and require­ments estab­lished in the mar­ket by reg­u­la­tory orga­ni­za­tions.” In addi­tion he also rec­om­mends the usage of “High qual­ity print­ing that will allow the cof­fee pro­duc­ers or roast­ers to com­mu­ni­cate their brand iden­tity. Printing up to ten col­ors in rotogravure, using lac­quer fin­ish­ing, and adding reverse print­ing, gives them the oppor­tu­nity to trans­form their pack­ag­ing in a great mar­ket­ing tool.” However, the CEO of PBi com­ments on the fact that many small roast­ers can­not afford the cost of cus­tom printed pack­ag­ing “A 12oz. cus­tom printed bag typ­i­cally requires a min­i­mum run of approx­i­mately 20,000–25,000 bags and artwork/set up costs… The solu­tion for the smaller roaster is to use a pres­sure sen­si­tive label applied to one of the solid color stock bags sold in sin­gle case quan­tity (i.e. 500‑1000 bags)” says Howley.

Your pack­ag­ing should tell con­sumers the story of the cof­fee inside. Where is it from? Is it organic, Fair Trade, or Direct Trade? Is a cus­tomer indi­rectly sup­port­ing a cause buy pur­chas­ing your cof­fee? Consumers like to know what is behind the prod­uct they are con­sum­ing. Make sure to max­i­mize your bill­board space through your pack­ag­ing, since this might be the only way you are reach­ing a customer.


Sustainability and earth-friendly prac­tices have been a pop­u­lar topic in the past years, and this men­tal­ity is here to stay. “In today’s world that is a major fac­tor to con­sider because we need to think about the future gen­er­a­tions and not only about what ben­e­fits us now” says Sanchez. In cor­re­la­tion, Sherry Gorsich, Director of Marketing at LBP Manufacturing says, “Packaging has a life­cy­cle – man­u­fac­tur­ers and oper­a­tors should be aware of raw mate­ri­als sourc­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing processes, and dis­posal.” Robert Pocius from TekPak Solutions rec­om­mends, “Using a Packaging that is ver­i­fi­ably Home Compostable and Biodegradable in Landfills, Forests, Rivers, Lakes and Oceans, this will show the cus­tomers that the Roaster is con­cerned about the health of the Planet.”

This is box title
Uvu Lid Recognized for Innovation in Lid Safety
Finally, a lid that will help avoid unin­ten­tional spills. It is hap­pen­ing daily at cof­fee shops and restau­rants where cof­fee spills on the counter, floor, or even worse…on the cus­tomer. Many times the cause of these spillages is that the lids are not secured on the cup prop­erly. And while spills can be both­er­some and incon­ve­nient, in some cases they can be dangerous.

The uVu™ Lid pro­vides a safer and more secure cus­tomer cof­fee drink­ing expe­ri­ence than any other lid in the mar­ket today. The lid con­tains sev­eral patented and patent pend­ing fea­tures, which visu­ally, audi­bly, and tac­tilely con­firm a firm fit and seal on a bev­er­age cup. Patented visual cues or slots imme­di­ately show a con­sumer or retail employee/barista whether the lid is seated on the cup. If the lip of the cup is present and view­able through all four slots, the lid is securely seated and ready to use. If any of the slots are left exposed with no cup lip show­ing, the cus­tomer or retail employee/barista is imme­di­ately prompted to press down on that exposed point thereby seal­ing the lid. These par­tic­u­lar inter­fer­ence points dif­fer from con­ven­tional “plug fit lids” which require coun­ter­vail­ing seal­ing points from the out­side of the lid as well as the inside. It amounts to a firmer seal, yet allows the lid to be removed rel­a­tively eas­ily when the cus­tomer wishes to add condi­ments (such as sugar, cin­na­mon, etc.) to the hot beverage.

The uVu™ lid has been in devel­op­ment for twelve to four­teen years and first entered the mar­ket last sum­mer with a suc­cess­ful in-market study at sev­eral Big Apple Bagels® restau­rants in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. David Weiss, CEO, uVu™ Lid Company says, “It is our fer­vent belief that as we con­tinue to smartly scale up, that every lid, even­tu­ally, will include the uVu™ visual cues to notify a user when a lid is actu­ally seated to a cup/container. It is easy, effi­cient and a sim­ple method to assure a secure and safe fit.”

uVu Lid was the win­ner of the 2012 SCAA – People’s Choice Award – for Best New Packaging Product.

Various inno­va­tions and tech­nolo­gies are con­tin­u­ously being devel­oped in the Packaging world, “The recent devel­op­ment of the Biotre® lam­i­na­tion by PBi received the Best New Product – Packaging award at SCAA 2012. Biotre allows cof­fee roast­ers the first oppor­tu­nity to pro­tect their cof­fee while also pre­serv­ing the envi­ron­ment. It’s a great step for­ward!” Says Howley.

In a recent ses­sion at the SCAA in Portland, Packaging 201, Bill Walters from PBi dis­cussed some of the trends he sees in pack­ag­ing. He men­tioned the rise in use of the Block Bottom Bag (BBB), which is a solid bot­tom bag that allows the pack­age to stack well. Furthermore, Walters men­tioned the increas­ing aware­ness of the impor­tance of ade­quately pack­ag­ing green beans, and the recog­ni­tion of Vacuum seal pack­ag­ing for Green Beans, specif­i­cally in the Specialty Coffee Market.

Selecting the per­fect pack­ag­ing will allow you to add value to your prod­uct. The right kind of pack­ag­ing should extend the shelf life of your prod­uct, pre­serve the qual­ity, and deliver freshly roasted cof­fee to your cus­tomer. A qual­i­fied sup­plier should be able to ade­quately answer your ques­tions, and direct you to choose the pack­ag­ing that will best meet your goals and needs. Moreover, make sure you are using your pack­ag­ing as a mar­ket­ing tool, as it might be the only way you are reach­ing your cus­tomer. Do not risk the integrity of your prod­uct by fail­ing to select the right kind of packaging.

This is box title
Flexible Packaging for Coffee: The Eco-Friendly Option
By Felipe E. Sixto Director of Sales & Marketing; Sixto Packaging
The evo­lu­tion of pack­ag­ing has sig­nif­i­cantly affected the way many prod­ucts are processed, pack­aged, trans­ported, and ulti­mately sold on store shelves. One area within the broader retail food/beverage sec­tor that has ben­e­fited from the exten­sive pack­ag­ing options avail­able is the cof­fee mar­ket. Advances in high bar­rier mate­ri­als have allowed many cof­fee roast­ers to extend the shelf life of their prod­ucts, use high graphic eye catch­ing designs, reduce their car­bon foot print, all the while sav­ing con­sid­er­able money.

Flexible pack­ag­ing, often crit­i­cized, decried, and out­right attacked, is in fact a vic­tim of dis­in­for­ma­tion. Flexible pack­ag­ing in fact offers sig­nif­i­cant value and sus­tain­abil­ity ben­e­fits to prod­uct man­u­fac­tur­ers, retail­ers, and con­sumers that are often over­looked. The major­ity of the ben­e­fits actu­ally come from the reduced envi­ron­men­tal impact of using less mate­r­ial and resources to produce.

According to “A Study of Packaging Efficiency as it Relates to Waste Prevention” by Franklin Associates, pro­duc­ing a typ­i­cal 12oz flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing cof­fee pack pro­duces 69% less green­house gas emis­sions than an 11.5oz steel cof­fee can. Furthermore, the study demon­strates that the pro­duc­tion of the flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing deliv­ers a 50% reduc­tion in BTU con­sump­tion and a 71% reduc­tion in over­all solid waste. Moreover, the February 2007, “Coffee Conundrum” case study by The ULS Report, found that a typ­i­cal flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing cof­fee brick pack reduces the weight of waste to land­fill by 72% vs. metal cans even tak­ing the recy­cling rates of cans into account.

In a Packaging & Technology Integrated Solutions, LLC study, cradle-to-grave life cycle con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sions data was com­pared between an 11.5 oz (prod­uct weight) metal can with a plas­tic lid, plas­tic con­tainer with a lid, and a flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing bag. Whereas the metal and plas­tic con­tain­ers energy con­sump­tion MJ/11.5oz ratio is 4.21 and 5.18 respect­fully, the flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing bag’s ratio is 1.14. Furthermore, emis­sions KG CO2 e/11.5oz was esti­mated at 0.33, 0.17, and 0.04 respectively.

The energy sav­ings equiv­a­lent of chang­ing all steel cof­fee cans to flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing is more than 17,200,000 gal­lons of gaso­line per year. That is with­out tak­ing into account the fact that flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing is light­weight and uses 20% less space in ship­ping fur­ther reduc­ing trans­porta­tion emis­sions. Flexible pack­ag­ing is also resource effi­cient, hav­ing a prod­uct weight to pack­ag­ing ration of nearly 29:1 com­pared to 3:1 to metal cans with a plas­tic lid and 5:1 for a plas­tic con­tainer with a lid.

Even though the envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits of flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing is evi­dent over the use of rigid con­tain­ers in many food and bev­er­age sec­tors, the flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing indus­try is invest­ing heav­ily in research and devel­op­ment of bio­plas­tics which are either biodegrad­able or com­posed of bio­log­i­cal mate­ri­als or both. Furthermore, the American Chemistry Council recently cre­ated a new Flexible Film Recycling Group, whose focus will be to try to improve the recy­cling rate of plas­tic films, par­tic­u­larly, high bar­rier lam­i­nates like those used in cof­fee pack­ag­ing. Upcycling part­ner­ships with com­pa­nies like TerraCycle often result in sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion of flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing waste end­ing up in the landfill.

When a cof­fee roaster takes into account the envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits listed above, the sig­nif­i­cant cost dif­fer­en­tial between flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing and rigid con­tain­ers, and the diverse pack­ag­ing options for pack­ag­ing cof­fee includ­ing roll stock for auto­mated machines, zip­pered stand up pouches, gus­seted pre­made bags with and with­out degassing valves; Flexible pack­ag­ing should be the clear choice.

Sixto Packaging is a fam­ily owned and oper­ated flex­i­ble pack­ag­ing con­ver­tor. They spe­cial­ize in high bar­rier pack­ag­ing for the snack food, cof­fee, and pet food industries.

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