NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kraft Foods Inc will begin selling its Gevalia coffee at supermarkets and other U.S. retailers in August, the company said on Thursday.
The move gets Kraft back into the U.S. premium grocery coffee business after its contentious split with Starbucks Corp this March. The companies had been long-time grocery distribution partners.
Kraft, North America's largest packaged food maker, said Gevalia has worldwide revenue of about $400 million a year. It is the No. 1 coffee brand in Sweden, its home market, and is sold in the United States online direct to consumers. It is also the biggest brand of coffee sold in the U.S. for Kraft's Tassimo one-cup brewing system.
Domenic Borrelli, Kraft's vice president of coffee in the United States, declined to say how long he expected it to take for sales of Gevalia to match sales of bagged Starbucks coffee, which brought Kraft $500 million a year in revenue.
"Our focus right now is to build awareness ... as quickly as we can," Borrelli said. "It's a gem of a brand in direct-to-consumer and we're going to work to grow it as aggressively and successfully as we can in retail."
U.S. retailers in August will offer ground, whole bean, decaffeinated and flavored Gevalia coffees options, Kraft said.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller and Lisa Baertlein, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Phil Berlowitz)