Wal-Mart Launches Exclusive Sam's Choice Line of Organic, Rainforest Alliance and Fair Trade Certified Coffees

Retailer Answers Coffee Drinkers’ Demands for Guilt-Free Gourmet Taste

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. – April 1, 2008 – Wal-Mart today announced another first - the launch of six coffees under its exclusive Sam’s Choice brand. The new coffees offer shoppers the opportunity to purchase gourmet coffee at a great value while providing benefits to farmers, their communities and the environment.  Bolstering Wal-Mart’s ongoing commitment to environmental issues, these first Sam’s Choice brand coffees hit store shelves in April at $5.88 for 10-12 oz. bags and are part of an Earth Month expansion of eco-friendly products that help consumers live better without compromising budget.

The initial Sam’s Choice gourmet coffees include Fair Trade Certified ™ House Blend, Espresso Roast and French Roast; Rainforest Alliance™ Certified Breakfast Blend whole bean and ground coffee; and USDA Organic, Swiss Water® Process Decaffeinated.  All Sam’s Choice coffees are 100 percent Arabica beans.  In addition, the six Sam’s Choice gourmet coffees are roasted by Café Bom Dia, a Brazil-based company that measured, reduced and offset its emissions to become the world’s first CarbonNeutral® roaster.

“We recognize our customers’ desire to buy products that have a positive environmental and social impact, and we are proud to offer an affordable line of coffee that is sourced and roasted with sustainability in mind,” said DeDe Priest, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Wal-Mart.  “For instance, if each of Wal-Mart’s 200 million shoppers bought one 10-oz. bag of Sam’s Choice Rainforest USDA Certified organic coffee, it would prevent 133 million pounds of fertilizers and chemicals from being released into the environment.”
Recent reports show that demand for gourmet coffee with social benefits is skyrocketing. For example, Fair Trade Certified coffee grew tenfold between 2001 and 2006 reaching $730 million in retail sales, according to TransFair USA, the only third-party certifier of fair trade products in the United States.  Market researchers at Mintel International Group, a leader in global consumer insights, predict that Fair Trade Certified will be a top food trend for 2008, and gourmet industry commentators at the popular Web site Epicurious refer to Fair Trade as “the new organic.”

Conservation International has identified 34 "biodiversity hotspots", defined as the biologically richest and most endangered places on earth where immediate conservation action can do the most good.  Nearly half of the “hotspots” identified by this distinguished non profit organization are now coffee-growing areas.  And small family farmers, who through Fair Trade certification can earn higher harvest prices for using sustainable practices, grow more than 50 percent of the world’s coffee, according to TransFair USA.

“Wal-Mart is an innovative partner in offering high quality, Fair Trade Certified coffee in a manner that both expands the marketplace and delivers value back down the supply chain to the farmer.   A year from now we will be able to trace Sam’s Choice coffee sales directly to improved environmental management at Fair Trade coffee farms and higher quality of life in farm communities,” said Paul Rice, TransFair USA president and CEO.

“Certification requires farms to meet environmental, social and economic standards that protect soils and waterways and provide workers with dignified working and living conditions,” said Tensie Whelan, president of the Rainforest Alliance.  “Wal-Mart’s offering of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee nationwide will make it easier than ever for shoppers to do the right thing by choosing coffee that comes from farms where wildlife habitat is protected and communities are supported.”

About  Sam's Choice Certifications

  • Sam’s Choice Fair Trade Certified coffee
  • Fair Trade Certified coffees are grown by family farmers who are paid a minimum guaranteed price for coffee that is grown and harvested under strict environmental and social standards.
  • Sam’s Choice Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee
  • Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee comes from farms that use environmentally, socially and economically sustainable practices that conserve biodiversity and support workers and their families.
  • Sam’s Choice USDA Organic Swiss Water ® Process Decaffeinated coffee
  • Organic farms are certified to have eliminated the use of pesticides and fertilizers, conserved water and land, and encouraged the use of renewable resources in production.  Swiss Water Process uses water diffusion and filtration to draw caffeine away from the bean.  Swiss Water Process Decaffeination is a natural alternative to harsh chemical solvents like methylene chloride used to produce many decaffeinated coffees.
  • CarbonNeutral certification
  • Through measurements, reductions and offsets, the supplier has certified that 100 percent of carbon emissions in roasting and packaging have been reduced to a net zero.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $296 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit www.walmartstores.com, www.walmart.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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