Corporate spokespeople frequently speak volumes more in what’s left unsaid than in what they say. Take yesterday’s Reuters news release from The Big 4‘s Kraft Foods. Kraft’s flagship coffee, Maxwell House, has desensitized American coffee taste buds for decades. Kraft has just recently decided to use 100% arabica beans in Maxwell House’s cans of unholy horror: INTERVIEW-Maxwell House coffee to go 100 pct arabica | Reuters.
In a statement made yesterday by Kraft senior vice-president and general manager of coffee in North America, John LeBoutillier, Kraft is changing the Maxwell House blend “to give mainstream America a richer, less bitter cup of coffee.”
The unsaid message from Mr. LeBoutillier? “For decades we have knowingly given mainstream America a weaker, more bitter cup of coffee. In more recent years, while the likes of Starbucks has created a market for much better coffee than the crude commodity we’ve been forever slinging on supermarket shelves, we countered by offering mainstream America even worse coffee: using cheap Vietnamese robusta beans, chemically treating it to taste more like our usual coffee, and passing the savings on to our shareholders. And by diverting our massive coffee purchases from our usual growers to cheap suppliers of low-grade beans, we helped instigate the global coffee crisis, inspiring desperate measures such as the Fair Trade movement.”
To also cite the Reuters article, “The move is neither an effort to challenge premium coffees nor in response to the hike in robusta futures prices to a recent nine-year peak, LeBoutillier said.” As if we didn’t predict exactly this ten months ago.
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