Charity coffee aims for a richer blend

INSIDE BUSINESS Marketing: can you be caring and commercially correct? Helen Jones reports

"RICHER, mellower and distinctly less bitter." Cafedirect is not just talking about the taste of its coffee brand, but also the Latin American and African farmers who grow the beans.

The company, backed by the charities Oxfam, Traidcraft, Twin Trading, and Equal Exchange Trading is this autumn running its first advertising campaign in women's magazines, including Elle and Marie Claire. It will focus not only on how consumers can help impoverished coffee growers, but also on the quality of the product. The campaign, created by the advertising agency Leo Burnett, is part of a marketing strategy to reposition Cafedirect as a mainstream brand, widen its consumer base, and make consumers aware of the plight of coffee growers in the developing world.

Although sold in all leading supermarket chains, including Safeway, Tesco and J Sainsbury, Cafedirect is synonymous with the ubiquitous Oxfam catalogues that fall from Sunday supplements. The brand started life in 1991, when it was available only through mail order. But gradually, by word of mouth recommendation and support from church organisations that began selling the product, sales began to rise and the supermarkets took notice.

Cafedirect's selling point is that it guarantees to pay farm co-operatives a minimum of 10 per cent above the world coffee price for their produce and to ship the product directly to the UK, where it is marketed. The farmers use the money they receive to benefit their communities and provide health care and education. The long-term basis of Cafedirect's relationship means farmers can make plans for the future rather than survive from one harvest to the next.

Cafedirect's products have all been awarded a Fairtrade Mark by Third World development organisations. This informs consumers that any product bearing the Fairtrade symbol cares for its workers - although it is not only small charitable organisations that are allowed to use the symbol. Typhoo Tea, which is owned by Premier Brands, has also been awarded one.

Cafedirect's sales director, Lorna Young, says that because of its heritage the Cafedirect brand is saddled with a "right-on image". "When we launched the product, it was people who supported the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and believed in the anti-apartheid movement that bought it, but now the situation in both Nicaragua and South Africa has changed," she says.

Ms Young maintains that the traditional consumer base for the product - the politically aware and church groups that sell Cafedirect to their members - is still important. But she faces a classic marketing dilemma - how to move the brand on and attract new consumers without alienating its core market.

"Through the advertising campaign we are now targeting "semi-ethical" women. These are people who are reasonably interested in green and world issues and feel that they want to do the right thing, but only if it is not too difficult or too painful for them."

To this end, says Ms Young, Cafedirect is focusing on the quality of the product. "We give the farmers advice on quality control, and they use traditional techniques to make sure that it is a really good product."

She says: "It's no good persuading new consumers to try it if it tastes really horrible, because they will not buy it again. That initial feeling of goodwill is destroyed, and we will not get the repeat purchases which we need."

Ms Young adds that the company is now looking at other products that it could sell. "We are just starting to dip our toes into the catering market at the moment, which is huge for coffee in the UK. But we are also looking at introducing decaffeinated coffee and possibly coffee-related products."

Cafedirect says that it has received invaluable advice and support from a surprising source - the supermarkets. "Some of them were very enthusiastic and tolerant and advised us on all sorts of things, like presentation and distribution. They are now taking our full product range," Ms Young says.

With the supermarkets - which are not known for sympathetic largesse - on Cafedirect's side, it only remains to be seen whether the general public will prove to be equally as enthusiastic about the product.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Directory, ITIL, Reuter)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?