Portland Roasting Company: Farm Friendly Direct
As Mark Stell waited to board the plane to Bujumbura, the capital city of Burundi in Africa, he contemplated an exciting market opportunity for his coffee roasting company. Within a few short weeks, Portland Roasting Company (PRC) was pitching to Fred Meyer, a major regional grocery retailer, and landing this account could help grow revenues by as much as 25%. Last year, Stell had made significant investments in new roasting and packaging equipment and he knew he had the capacity and infrastructure to supply a large account. PRC would also promote the virtues of the Farm Friendly Direct (FFD) program. From the beginning, PRC had developed trade relationships with individual coffee growers, paid premium prices, and invested additional funds in local projects that directly benefited the lives of coffee farmers and their communities. In 2005, PRC was awarded the prestigious Sustainability Award by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA). The FFD program is featured on the company website, in marketing materials and on product packaging (Exhibit 1). PRC would have to convince the client that ‘Farm Friendly Direct’ coffee was superior to conventional third-party certifications such as Fair
Stell also realized that the FFD program alone would not be sufficient to secure the account. Grocery retailers were also concerned about price, order fulfillment, marketing support, product quality and customer service, in addition to the sustainability attributes of a product. As the last boarding call rang out over the loudspeaker, Stell picked up his laptop bag and headed for the departure gate.