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Packaged Coffees from ‘Blue Chip’ Roasters Rose in Q4 2015

transparent trade coffee

Image by Transparent Trade Coffee.

The Transparent Trade Coffee project has released its Specialty Coffee Retail Price Index (SCRPI) covering the fourth quarter of 2015, showing a quarterly gain in the price of packaged, roasted coffee from “blue chip” roasters of 4 percent, with a 10.3 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2014.

Among the dozens of roasting companies tracked through the fourth quarter, the average per-pound price for roasted coffee was $22.57, with the average of lowest-priced coffees from each settling at $16.03 and the average of the highest-priced coffee for each reaching $29.12, another quarterly increase of 4 percent.

Transparent Trade is an ongoing project within the Goizueta Business School at Emory University, and its SCRPI tracks online retail costs of packaged coffee sold by 60 roasters in the United States and Canada, choosing roasters based on representative geographical location, as well as representation in Coffee Review, the Good Food Awards and Roast magazine’s Roaster of the Year awards. (Due to reporting complications, only 57 roasters were reflected in TT’s Q4 index.)

In addition to the SCRPI, the project has been building a database of Transparent Trade coffees, which are self-registered by roasters who report FOB prices paid for green coffee, as well as retail prices of roasted coffees. Overarching goals of the project are to promote transparency in trade among sustainably minded roasters, while promoting appropriate pricing for growers of the world’s specialty coffee.

In its Q4 report, the TT project noted some discord related to quarter-over-quarter/year-over-year gains in prices of packaged, roasted coffees and the sagging of the commodities market through the same time period. Regarding Q4, TT noted:

The corresponding ICO Composite Price for green coffee fell to $1.13 per pound in December 2015. Thus, as retail prices for specialty coffees rose by 4.0%, commodity prices fell by another 1.4% during the fourth quarter of 2015. Year-over-year, as average retail prices for specialty coffees rose by 10.3%, the ICO Composite Price fell by 24.7%.

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