Folgers Raises Coffee Prices as Bean Costs Jump

Procter & Gamble's (PG) Folgers coffee brand boosted the price of its roast-and-ground coffee by 14 percent on Thursday, affecting about 75 percent of the company's retail coffee line.

Citing rising coffee prices for green beans, a company spokeswoman said the new list price will be about $2.28 per 13-ounce equivalent for ground coffee sold in retail stores.

"This is based on the increase in prices on the green coffee market," said Tonia Hyatt. "For our roast-and-ground products, which are the bulk of our business, those will increase by 28 cents per 13-ounce equivalent."

Other Folgers' special roast products were increased by different amounts, she said.

Folgers last raised list prices on Nov. 18, 2002, although the company reduced promotional spending in April this year.

Actively traded arabica coffee futures (search) on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange (search) hit a 4-1/2-year on Dec. 2 when March futures peaked at $1.0250 per pound.

The March contract was trading at 98.80 cents per pound, up 0.75 cent from Wednesday's settlement price.

Investor appetite for coffee futures has perked up this year as the industry emerged from a crisis of low prices and oversupply to prospects of flagging world production and steady to rising consumption of the brew.

The price rise by Folgers, considered generally a trendsetter for the mainstream roasters, follows a move by specialty-coffee retail giant Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) to increase beverage prices in North America by 11 cents a cup on average on Oct. 6. Roasters buy green coffee and sell it wholesale or retail in whole bean or ground form.