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Published: Tuesday, 4/1/2008

Big coffee roasters cut cost to retailers

FROM THE BLADE'S NEWS SERVICES

NEW YORK - A global decline in coffee prices from a 10-year high has enabled Kraft Foods Inc. to follow Procter & Gamble Co.'s lead in lowering prices to retailers.

Kraft cut U.S. prices of Maxwell House and Yuban by as much as 6.5 percent after bean costs dropped.The price for coffee in containers of 11 ounces to 13 ounces in size dropped 20 cents, a Kraft spokesman said yesterday.

Procter & Gamble cut prices by similar amount last week on Folgers, the top-selling U.S. brand.

The manufacturers had increased prices in early March.

Global coffee prices skyrocketed over the first three months of this year, but dropped by about 40 cents a pound over the past two weeks to close Friday at $1.30, according to futuresource.com, a Web site that tracks commodity prices.

The price fluctuations are fueled by higher demand, tight supplies, overall uncertainty about the economy, and increased investment activity from hedge funds and Wall Street investors.



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