New York: The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc, said yesterday that it would launch six new coffee variants under its private-label Sam's Choice in the US.
To cater the growing demand for organic products and to also promote its image as an eco-friendly retailer, Wal-Mart will roll-out the coffee brands, which is sourced and roasted with sustainability in mind. The current private label line of coffees will be organic, and would carry the eco-friendly certification Rainforest Alliance, apart from the fair trade certification.
The company says all the coffees are certified ''carbon neutral'' because its Brazil-based coffee roaster, Cafe Bom Dia, has cut its net carbon emissions to zero.
The coffees include Fair Trade Certified House Blend, Espresso Roast and French Roast; Rainforest Alliance Certified Breakfast Blend whole bean and ground coffee; and Organic Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated.
Shoppers squeezed by the real-estate slump, higher fuel prices and a weakening job market, are also confronting higher grocery prices as commodity costs soar, the company. To encourage shoppers, Wal-Mart's current rollout of organic coffees have been priced at $5.88 for 10 to 12-ounce bag, which cheaper than the O Organics Aztec blend medium ground coffee and the Seattle's Best organic decaffeinated ground coffee.
Fair trade certification requires specified economic, social and environmental standards be met, and farmer groups receive a guaranteed price for coffee grown and harvested under certain environmental standards.
Rainforest Alliance certified coffee comes from farms that use environmentally, socially and economically sustainable practices that conserve biodiversity, the company added.
Increased consumer awareness about environmental issues and farmers' standard of living have created a growing market for products deemed sustainable. Coffee chains like Starbucks Corp and Dunkin' Donuts have started purchasing fair trade beans to make their drinks.