Coffee Prices Are Pushing the Cost of Your Cup Up

Your morning cup of coffee is getting more expensive. Coffee prices have been on the rise throughout 2014, and the price of Arabica beans is now starting to cut into coffee retailers' profits. Keurig Green Mountain (NASDAQ: GMCR  ) and Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) have both announced price increases this year, and there may be more to come.

What's caused the increase in coffee prices?
A drought in Brazil has put a severe damper on supply this year, and forecasters are beginning to worry that the effects may carry on into 2015, as well. The country produces around a third of the world's Arabica bean crop. The drought, called the worst in 40 years, has hammered coffee growers. In addition to the localized drought, coffee rust, a fungal infection that attacks coffee plants, has been on the rise globally.

Coffee prices are on the rise around the world. 

Starbucks announced its increase earlier in the year, bumping bagged coffee prices by 8%. Keurig took a similar line last week, saying that it will raise prices up to 9% on all of its portion packs beginning in November. Keurig said that its green coffee prices have increased 55% in the last year.

It's a tricky situation for coffee producers, as shoppers have options beyond the major chains for their coffee needs. Due to the rise in popularity of coffee, Starbucks now competes with just about every other business in town for coffee dollars. Due to that fact, the company has been hesitant to increase cafe prices as much as it has bagged coffee.

Keurig is also competing against other producers who now produce packs that work with its Keurig brewers. Other retailers may be able to keep costs lower by using a blend of Arabica and Robusta, a cheaper alternative to Arabica beans.

The future of coffee prices
Part of the future of pricing depends on how soon Starbucks and Keurig lock in 2015 prices. On its last earnings call, Starbucks' CFO Scott Maw said that the company had locked in 60% of its 2015 supply at prices that were relatively in line with 2014, but that pricing would depend on how that last 40% ended up. If the company waits too long and the drought is forecast to take a toll on next year's supply in Brazil, you can be sure Starbucks will be talking about a potential increase.

Keurig is actually locked in for all of 2015, according to the company, so its price increase is probably a reflection of its pricing forecasts beyond next year. Betting on higher prices seems like a good call. The drought in Brazil may be an early sign of El Nino, which is bad news for growers. The weather system delays the return of wet weather, often setting in during the rainy season.

For coffee drinkers, it's going to mean watching the price of your cup continue to creep up over the next few years. Retailers are only going to have to fight harder for beans as worldwide consumption rises, especially in Asia. Coffee has been on the rise in Asia, and as the market takes more and more of the available green coffee, prices are going to continue to climb.

Keep an eye Starbucks and Keurig as they continue to come under pressure from coffee pricing. The long-term outlook for your cup isn't cheap, but these two companies are going to try to keep you coming back for more.

Warren Buffett’s worst auto-nightmare (Hint: It’s not Tesla)
A major technological shift is happening in the automotive industry. Most people are skeptical about its impact. Warren Buffett isn’t one of them. He recently called it a “real threat” to one of his favorite businesses. An executive at Ford called the technology “fantastic.” The beauty for investors is that there is an easy way to ride this mega-trend. Click here to access our exclusive report on this stock.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 3083036, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/1/2015 4:02:25 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Andrew Marder

Andrew Marder worked in retail for years, holding jobs ranging from bookseller to bank strategy analyst. He has worked for the Motley Fool since 2012, and loves coffee.

Today's Market

updated 6 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,528.03 -114.98 -0.69%
S&P 500 1,972.18 -16.69 -0.84%
NASD 4,776.51 -51.82 -1.07%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/31/2015 3:59 PM
GMCR $56.60 Up +2.49 +4.60%
Keurig Green Mount… CAPS Rating: **
SBUX $54.71 Down -0.92 -1.65%
Starbucks CAPS Rating: ****