Sunday, August 26, 2007

Monday Morning Java

News, facts, fun and vital information to start your week off with a jolt

Selling Coffee and Doing Good:
San Leandro-based Rogers Family Coffee Company has long been in the forefront of producing organic coffees and initiating Fairtrade practices with growers. The family-owned firm also has personally involved itself for years in the regions where it buys it's coffee beans. The company buys directly from coffee bean growers in Central and South America, paying them a premium for their crops. They also have initiated various programs in these countries to aid coffee farmer workers and boost their living conditions via a charitable foundation they set up called Community Aid.

Last year the family coffee company took some of its business--along with its charitable foundation--to Africa. They are beginning in one of the Africa's most impoverished and strife-torn countries, Rwanda. They have set up an organic coffee operation there and are implementing programs through their foundation to aid the regions coffee farm workers. You can read more about the Roger's Family Coffee Company's initiative in Africa and elsewhere in this article from Inside Bay, an online publication based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read the story here:

7-11 C-Stores Become Famed Kwik-E-Mart's for Promotion:

Last month Dallas,Texas-based convenience store chain 7-Eleven made a bold merchandising and promotional gambit. The C-store operator teamed up with 20th Century Fox, the producers of the Simpsons movie released in July, and turned 12 7-Eleven stores into Kwik-E-Marts, the fictional convenience store chain on the popular Simpsons weekly television show.

It was a blowout success for 7-Eleven--the real C-store chain not to be confused with the fictional Kwik-E-Mart. The chain sold 3 million pieces of Simpsons' specialty merchandise. They had donuts called Sprinkilicios--a favorite of the Simpson family when they shop at Kwik-E-Mart--made and sold over 1 million of them during the promotion. 7-Eleven also had to have dozens of new products produced; products which are consumed by the characters on the Simpsons TV show. There was Buzz Cola, KrustyO's Cereal and other fictional brands from the show. They even had Bart Simpsons' favorite comic book (which is sold on the show at Kwik-E-Mart) Radioactive Man, produced in cooperation with the movie's producers and the advertising agency hired to plan and organize the joint promotion.

There was considerable risk involved on 7-Eleven's part. The Simpsons fictional TV Kwik-E-Mart is run by an Indian immigrant named Apu Nahasapeemapetilon who has a Doctorate in computer science but runs a convenience store. He and all the others on the show mercilously make fun of the convenience store industry. 7-Eleven could have easily turned down the movie producer's and advertising agency request to be a part of the promotion based on how the show portrays the C-store industry's reputation. But they wisely said yes and got behind the campaign completeley.

7-Eleven turned stores in Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Vancouver BC and elsewhere (12 total) into Kwik-E-Mart's. All were designed to look exactly like the Simpson's TV Kwik-E-Mart. In the Los Angeles store shoppers lined up around the store waiting to get in. And when told the store was out of Simpsons merchandise, and it would be at least a two hour wait until more was delivered, they remained in line and waited for the delivery.

Kwik-E-Marts in the other cities received similar shopper response. A store manager in Dallas says the famous 7-Eleven Slurpee machines--renamed Squishees for the promotion in honor of the name of the Slurpee-like beverage sold at Kwik-E-Mart on the Simpsons--got so hot from all the customer orders he had to turn them off throughout the day so they could cool down.

7-Eleven, 20th Century Fox (producers of the movie) and Freshworks (the promotion's ad agency) are receiving kudos for so successfully tieing-in 7-Eleven/Kwik-E-Mart and the movie. Many marketing and advertising people are saying it might be the best promotion of the year. By fully embracing the promotion despite all the fun the TV Simpsons' poke at the convenience store industry 7-Eleven has shown that by hanging a lantern on a situation a business can make hay from what some think is a negative.
More Monday Morning Java...Free Refills:
The Fresh Market chain expanding...Greensboro, North Carolina-based Fresh Market, a 70-store specialty grocer, is planning to expand into the Mid-Atlantic region putting a number of stores in the Baltimore/Virginia/Washington D.C. area. Fresh Market is a good retail example of the Natural~Specialty Foods Convergence we talk about often here on NSFM. Fresh Market stores feature a large selection of specialty, gourmet, ehtnic, natural and organic groceries; produce, meats and perishables. The stores also feature an extensive selection of fresh prepared meal entrees, side dishes and baked goods. Fresh Market opened its first store in Baltimore last month. The specialty grocer has plans to go national, and the push in the Mid-Atlantic region is the beginning of that plan, according to the company. Fresh Market stores are approx. 20,000 square-feet. Last year the company opened 10 new stores and plans on opening about 14 this year and in 2008. Fresh Market is currently scouting the Northeast U.S. as their next stop in national expansion.
Natural/Organic personal care products market booming...Between 2002-2006 the U.S. natural/organic personal care products market grew by more than $2 billion dollars to a total of $6.1 billion at the end of 2006. In the next five years market-researcher Packaged Facts estimates the market will grow even more--from today's $6.1 billion in total sales to $10.2 billion in 2012--for an increase of over $4 billion in the next five years. You can read more about the Packaged Facts study on the natural/organic personal care market's projected growth, trends and retail channels of distribution in this story in today's Progressive Grocer.
News, Facts and Ideas You Can Use
The Food Network and are planning to jointly expand Food Network's e-commerce web site with a new online storefront called which is set to begin on October 1, 2007. The current Food Network site carrys only 1,000 specialty items. The new site however will expand to offer over 20,000 specialty, gourmet, ethnic and natural products as well as related kitchen/cooking items. It also will have chef cooking suggestions, recipes and food-related content of all types. This expansion presents a great opportunity for specialty and natural foods suppliers and marketers to merchandise their items on an e-commerce storefront operated by the popular Food Network brand. Since the Food Network television channel will cross-promote the online store on its shows it's expected to drive numerous customers to the new, expanded storefront.
Speaking of the Food Network...The Food Network's popular reality show, "The Next Food Network Star" has picked it's winner. She's Amy Finley, a mom, freelance caterer and writer from San Diego, California, who's goal is to help people create simple, inexpensive, quality meals. You can read more about Ms. Finley here:,,FOOD_20356_62435,00.html
The winner of the show gets her or his own program on the Food Channel--their chance to become the network's next food star. Amy Findley's new show begins in October according to the network.
Some Great Free Resources for Natural & Specialty Foods Professionals
Supermarket News' Top 75 Annual Ranking of the leading 75 food retailing companies in the U.S. is a great resource. The Ranking list company sales, CEO, number of stores and other relevant information. You can get it here for free:
Supermarket News also does an annual ranking of the top 75 Global retail food leaders. You can get it here for free:
Food company Unilever has a free study report called "Boomer Shoppers Today and Tomorrow." The report provides valuable insight into today's largest consumer demographic segment, baby boomers. You can get it here:
There's no charge for this report. You just need to fill out a simple registration form to view it.

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