KCFA vs. Safeway’s Kona Select Brand
August 12, 2011 – HPR’s The Conversation with KCFA’s Paul Uster regarding the Safeway Boycott here
August 11, 2011 – Video link from KITV (Honolulu) of KCFA‘s Boycotting Demonstration of here
August 9, 2011 – HPR’s The Conversation speaks with Safeway’s Public Affairs Director here
August 6, 2011 – Communication from Safeway: from AP in Anchorage, AK paper (and exact AP article on the front page of West Hawaii Today on August 7, 2011) here
August 3, 2011 – HPR’s Sherry Bracken – News story , here
April 11, 2011 – Russell Kokubun, Chairperson, Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture’s Letter to Safeway- here
July 21, 2011Press Release and Commentary below
CONTACT PERSON – CLARE WILSON (808) 322-7094
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAFEWAY’S DECEPTIVE LABELING LEADS KONA COFFEE FARMERS TO CALL FOR BOYCOTT
KAILUA KONA, HAWAII, July 21, 2011 Safeway’s mainland stores are selling coffee labeled as “Safeway Select Kona Blend“, complete with a label that reads “Revel in the unmatched taste of savory beans from Hawaii’s Big Island“. The package sells for one quarter the price of genuine Kona coffee as sold by Peet’s and Starbucks, and Safeway has freely admitted that the coffee they sell contains only “some” Kona coffee and they decline to say what percentage is genuine or what the origin of the fake beans is.
By a resolution passed this week, the Kona Coffee Farmers Association is calling for a nationwide boycott of all Safeway stores in response to Safeway‘s total disregard of concerns about the sale of deceptively labeled “Safeway Select Kona Blend”. At KCFA’s request, in April, Chairman Kokubun of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture sent Safeway a letter to “strongly urge voluntary compliance with our coffee labeling laws …“. More than three months later, Safeway has yet to respond to Kokubun’s letter.
Colehour Bondera, President of the KCFA, stated “Safeway’s deceptive labeling amounts to consumer fraud, damaging the economic interests of Kona coffee farmers and harming the historic reputation of one of Hawaii’s premier agricultural products.”
Bruce Corker, Chair of the KCFA Legislative Committee, said “KCFA is calling on customers in Hawaii and on the mainland to boycott Safeway stores until Safeway accurately labels its coffee.” He further explained, “KCFA has no problem with retailers mixing coffee origins to make whatever blend they think their customers will enjoy. But those mixtures should be accurately labeled so as not to mislead customers.” The KCFA has, since its inception, held the view that deceptively labeled blends damage the reputation of Kona coffee by misleading consumers into drinking an inferior product that they then associate with the Kona name, leading to a loss of perceived value, and actual value for Kona coffee farmers. 100% Kona coffee is one of Hawaii’s premier agricultural products of which the State is very proud. Safeway is perpetuating damaging exploitation of the Kona coffee reputation, and needs to be persuaded to change the labeling of its “Safeway Select Kona Blend ” to prominently disclose the percentage of Kona-grown coffee and the origin of the non-Kona coffee in the package.
Additional information on the Kona coffee blend law and the economic impact of blending is available at these locations on the KCFA site
The Kona Coffee Farmers Association is a volunteer, non-profit, community-based organization of coffee farmers with the mission to promote and protect the economic interests of Kona coffee farmers who grow and sell 100% Kona coffee and to seek greater legal protection of the Kona coffee name.
Commentary in Reaction to Press Release (above)
1. Civil Beat article here a must read!
2. Hawaii 24/7 article here
3. Please forward this (KCFA PR on Safeway Boycott) to anyone who may be Safeway customers. In a nutshell, it’s the same thing as selling wine as Bordeaux where only 10% of the wine is from Bordeaux and 90% is from Boone’s Farm….do you think you would be able to taste the Bordeaux part? —from a KCFA member
4. All of their produce is over priced and not local enough, in my opinion!And to do this to Kona coffer farmers AUWE! Happy to boycott them and tell my friends & ohana DRINK REAL KONA COFFEE shop at KTA! Wish we had one on Oahu!—from a Sustainable landscape designer & Consultant, Arborist and Aquaponics specialist on Oahu- (That’s how we grow more local FOOD!)
5. Safeway and Von’s (mainly southern California) seem to have an ownership association. I would like to network this boycott, am interested in KCFA’s opinion about extending this to Von’s, or not…— from a KCFA member
6. Of course this is old news— Coffee Times article here from a KCFA member
7.Thanks for the Heads up. I for one will no be shopping at Safeway until they own up.It is deplorable at this time to injure a domestic production group and negatively impact American workers and farmers.— from a Coffee Geek Moderator in Texas
8….Best of luck getting the message to Safeway. I think it’s equally absurd that some Kona farms (and I have one in mind because I’ve seen their 10% pre-ground blends in Big Island hotel rooms) would diminish the value of this exquisite commodity while injuring the livelihood of their fellow farmers. *EDIT*– I shouldn’t say they are entirely a farm, maybe more of an aggregator, as I actually happened to stumble upon their coffee cherry drop-site and processing facility (they call it a Visitor Center) on Highway 11. They just paid smaller farmers by weight for their cherries. Saw a lot of greens mixed in with the red ones when they were accepting harvests. CG Member from IN
9.Enough of deception, cheating and lying to sell a product. The integrity of Safeway has tanked in my book. Of course knowing growers on the island and living where Kona coffee grows this news makes me livid. I am completely over big business attempting to rip of legitimate concerns just because they think they can get away with it. Blogger from Kona
10. You can bet there is no way that I will buy their coffee or frequent their stores, and we have one 1/2 mile from us. I’ll drive the extra couple of miles to shop and will let them know here in Henderson that they are misleading the public on this. I’m a 100 % Kona Coffee fan. I don’t buy the 10 % or any other then PURE Kona coffee. At my age it’s one of the few pleasures left, don’t mess with it Safeway. Blogger from NV
11. “There are 1,702 Safeway stores across the US and Canada. These include 312 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada, 112 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas, 37 Genuardi’s store in the Philadelphia area, as well as 17 Carrs stores in Alaska.”
” It also offers SELECT line of products that include baked goods, sparkling ciders and lemonades, salsas, whole bean coffees, frozen pizzas and entrees, and fresh and dry pastas and sauces, as well as an array of ice creams, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts; O ORGANICS line, which comprises milk, chicken, salads, juices, and entrees; Lucerne line of dairy products; Eating Right line of better-for-you products; Bright Green line of home care products; Total Pet Care line of pet foods and pet care products; and Value Red line of value-priced paper goods. As of December 31, 2009, Safeway operated approximately 1,725 stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba/Saskatchewan. In addition, the company owns and operates GroceryWorks.com Operating Company, LLC, an online grocery channel, doing business under the names Safeway.com, Vons.com, and Genuardis.com; and Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., which provides third-party gift cards, prepaid cards, telecom cards, and sports and entertainment cards to North American retailers for sale to retail customers. Additionally, it engages in gift card businesses in the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, and Australia. Further, the company, through a 49% ownership interest in Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V. operates 156 food and general merchandise stores in Western Mexico.”
—from a senior member of Coffee Geek who lives in Wisconsin