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Coffee gets cheaper as Smucker slashes prices 6%

Coffee Coffee addicts rejoice: J.M. Smucker Co. is slashing prices on its Folgers and Dunkin’ Donuts coffees by an average of 6%.

The cut follows recent weakness in the wholesale coffee market, whose heady performance in the last year had coffee roasters rushing to keep up. The price of green, unroasted coffee beans nearly doubled between June 2010 and June 2011 before retreating. Smucker raised its coffee prices 11% in May after a 10% hike in February.

The price cut affects only packaged coffee sold in stores, including the Dunkin’ Donuts brand that Smucker sells under a license -- not the coffee poured in Dunkin’ Donuts shops.

Now, the pressure is on for competitors such as Starbucks Corp. and Maxwell House owner Kraft Foods Inc. to follow Smucker’s lead. After all, a cheaper cuppa joe in the morning and maybe the afternoon -- OK, every 15 minutes -- is likely to appeal to consumers facing high food prices and the specter of a double-dip recession.

Although Ohio-based Smucker still makes Smucker's jams and jellies, Jif peanut butter and other products, coffee is now its largest business segment.

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-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: A cappuccino in Los Feliz. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

 
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