By Lorrie Baumann
Tremendous competition in the coffee space means that the retailer most likely to succeed is nimble, aware of the trends moving the market and partnered with a purveyor who possesses those same attributes along with an appetite for innovation, says Jonathan White of White Coffee.
He’s a third-generation member of the family that started White Coffee in 1939, when David White started selling coffee to foodservice companies. His mother, Carole, is the company’s current President and the woman who makes it the woman-owned company it is today.
Jonathan White is the company’s Executive Vice President, to the extent that titles ever actually mean very much in a company that’s as much family as business. “It’s important for retailers to seek out a coffee solution provider that’s nimble and creative enough to meet the demands of consumers,” he said.
White Coffee is meeting that standard with proprietary packages and products such as its trademarked Bio-Cup™, the environmentally friendly way to enjoy one cup of coffee convenience. The BioCup is both compostable and biodegradable, with 90 percent degradation after six months. Combined with White Coffee’s best coffees, BioCup provides superior quality in an environmentally friendly, convenient platform. White Coffee’s facilities are rated at SQF Level 3, assuring customers that they can assure their customers that White Coffee delivers both quality and safety of the highest order, White said.
White Coffee has also entered into partnerships with major brands to create licensed coffee and hot chocolate products that combine the White Coffee product quality with the name recognition of brands like Kahlua, Entenmann’s and Jim Beam. Those partnerships also offer retailers the opportunity to benefit by an association in the consumer’s mind between coffee and something else that they already feel good about, White said. “We understand the importance of creative and thematic packaging,” he added.
White’s Coffee serves a broad range of retail channels, including mass market stores, club stores and specialty shops, providing insights and best practices from all of those channels to each customer and offering customers a wide range of resources to help sell – including training for sales staff in the field and meeting with department managers for tastings and demonstrations. “Our job is to make it easy for them to sell a lot of coffee,” White said.
Along with those advantages, White Coffee also offers great customization and flexibility, so that the company’s customers can enjoy the opportunity to modify White Coffee products – even those produced under license from another brand – into a product that’s unique. K-cup boxes can range from 10 to 100 pieces and Nespresso-compatible capsules are also available. Coffee bags can range from 1.5 ounces to 3 pounds, and any of those packages can incorporate the licensed brand names to create the product that’s the perfect blend of customization, convenience, quality and flavor to distinguish a retailer’s product assortment from that of competitors, even within the mass market.
At the same time, White Coffee has been a pioneer in specialty coffee for 40 years, selling single-origin premium coffee brands since long before third-wave coffee shops made those trendy. White Coffee’s Ethiopia Yargacheffe, for instance, represents the finest Ethiopian coffee. Sourced from the mountains of southeastern Ethiopia, it possesses unique sweetness and fruitiness with floral flavors and winey characteristics with a light, smooth body. White Coffee’s Brazil Bourbon Santos, one of the finest coffees grown in Brazil, comes from the Bourbon variety of coffee tree and has a sweet flavor with medium acidity and strong aroma. There’s even a certified organic choice from White Coffee: its Organic Rainforest Blend.
In addition to its range of coffee varieties and blends, White Coffee has added multiple packaging lines to its range within the past couple of years, including hot chocolate products offered in K-cups, tins and single-serving envelopes. “We love the coffee business,” White said. “We know it’s one of the first things people count on every morning, and one of the things they end their day with. Coffee is a vehicle for friends and family to be together, and we want to contribute a great product for them.”