- Coffee liqueur brand Kahlúa said all of the Arabica coffee used in the product is fully traceable and sourced from the remote Mexican farming communities participating in its Coffee for Good initiative launched in 2016.
- To increase the brand’s sustainability, parent company Pernod Ricard has been working with a local NGO for the last six years to improve the living and working conditions for farmers and establish good agricultural practices.
- As consumers put more value in how the ingredients in their favorite products are produced when they shop, food and beverage makers have started debuting more offerings that show how, where and by whom they are grown.
As CPGs prepare to improve the sustainability of many of their products, it’s apparent that while the result can lead to a payout with consumers, it often takes a long time to get there.
In the case of Kahlúa, the brand embarked on a 10-year project called Coffee for Good that involved four remote coffee-growing villages in Veracruz, the brand’s birthplace in Mexico. The goal was to enable these small communities to grow all of the coffee used in the brand.
Since then, Kahlúa said it has introduced techniques and farm management practices to maximize yields and combat climate change, provide training on how to grow other crops and improve the business acumen of the farmers.
In announcing its traceability milestone, Kahlúa provided some insight into why it started on the long journey in the first place. It said brands and retailers are facing mounting pressure from their customers to provide greater transparency into their supply chains, including where a product originated and what environmental impact it has had.
"It’s paramount that we have traceability across our coffee supply chain – not only for our own peace of mind, but it’s essential that we provide the same assurances to our retail customers,” Lynne Millar, director of purchasing for Kahlúa, said in a statement.
Nearly half of U.S. consumers are likely to change their purchasing behavior based on the environmental attributes of the food, according to survey data from Nielsen. For companies and brands looking to attract and retain consumers in a sector where loyalty is fleeting, even the smallest of attributes can be valuable.
Kahlúa is the latest brand in the food and beverage space to make its traceability efforts known to consumers.
Unilever and Nestlé became the first global food companies to publish their entire palm oil supply chains for consumers a few years ago. A mobile app developed by J.M. Smucker, Dutch beverage company Jacobs Douwe Egberts and others gives consumers the ability to trace their coffee beans with an interactive map.
And last year, Mondelēz International said consumers purchasing its Triscuit brand will be able to trace the journey of the white-winter wheat baked into some of its Triscuit crackers from a co-op of farmers’ fields in Michigan to where the product is made.