Kraft Follows Folgers, Raises Coffee Price

Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT) raised its list ground coffee price over the weekend, a spokeswoman said on Monday, becoming the second major U.S. roaster to hike its price since Friday.

Kraft, whose leading brand is Maxwell House (search), raised its list price by 28 cents or 12 percent to $2.57 per 13-ounce can, according to the spokeswoman.

This matched the increase on Friday by Folgers, a brand of Procter and Gamble Co. (PG), which is considered an industry trendsetter.

If past price moves are any indication, Sara Lee Corp. (SLE) may follow suit with its leading brand Chock full o'Nuts (search). A company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Kraft's price increase reflected mounting green coffee prices. Green or unroasted coffee, which comes in many varieties from high-quality arabica to robusta, refers to the beans before they are roasted.

Typically, a roaster buys the green beans, roasts them, then packages the coffee as ground or whole bean in tin cans or plastic containers or foil packets.

The largest U.S. packaged food company, Kraft last increased its list ground coffee price on Dec. 10, 2004, by 28 cents to $2.29 per 13-ounce can, also due to rising green coffee prices. Before December's price increase, Kraft had not moved prices since November 2002, according to the spokeswoman.

On Friday, Folgers raised its list ground price by 28 cents or 12 percent to $2.56 per 11.5- to 13-ounce can. Folgers cited rising prices for arabica futures on the New York Board of Trade (search). Futures prices have risen 40 percent since early December 2004.

NYBOT benchmark May arabica futures fetched $1.35 per pound in late-morning trading on Monday.