business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Lunds/Byerly’s announced yesterday that it is introducing a private label like of “chef-crafted frozen pizzas ranging from traditional Chicago-style deep dish to thin crust to all-natural. These high-quality, gourmet pizzas are made using fresh ingredients such as basil leaves, artichoke hearts, Roma tomatoes, baby portabella mushrooms and Asiago cheese.”

The product introduction continues the company’s tradition of creating private label and differentiated product lines.

• Caribou Coffee, the nation’s second largest specialty coffee retailer, announced a partnership with Keurig, which manufactures some 40,000 single-serving coffee machines that are used primarily in offices and foodservice locations.

Keurig already has partnerships with coffee companies such as Deidrich and Timothy's World Coffee, as well as specialty tea makers Bigelow and Celestial Seasonings. Caribou will blend and sell the coffee beans for eight different coffees to Keurig, which then will package them for use in its machines.
KC's View:
We think it makes sense for retailers to find new and different ways to make their products available to consumers – going out to the shopper, rather than hoping that shoppers will find them. Upscale vending represents a major opportunity for a lot of retailers for unmanned business opportunities, which is what Caribou is doing here.

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, we need to mention here that our eldest son, who lives and goes to Columbia College in Chicago, has just recently gotten a job at the local Caribou Coffee…where he is learning the intricacies of making lattes and cappuccinos.

Those of you who have been reading MNB for any period of time know that our 17-year-old son works as a barista at the local Starbucks. Which means that pretty much all of our caffeine needs are taken care of. (And we’re thrilled that not only are both our kids learning retail, but that our oldest – who wants to be an actor and screenwriter – is getting experience in foodservice, where he’ll probably be spending a fair amount of his time.)