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March 19 (Reuters) - At least three U.S. roasters announced this week that they were raising coffee prices after arabica coffee futures fell from a 34-year high.
Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N, one of the top coffee roasters in the United States, raised prices for many of its roast coffees by 22 percent, marking its fourth and biggest price hike in a year, effective on March 16. [ID:nN17442469]
On the same day, Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA raised the cost of its well-known brands including Chock Full o'Nuts, by an average of 12 percent. [ID:nN19223135]
On March 18, Starbucks Co (SBUX.O) said it would raise the price of its packaged coffee by an average of 12 percent. [ID:nN18111123]
Even robusta coffee, typically processed into instant coffee or used as a cheaper alternative in roasted blends, has joined the rally and on Friday hit a three-year high at $2,672 per tonne, basis May LRCc2.
Roasters have widely been forced to raise their prices sporadically since June 2010 when the rally began, initially spurred by fund buying and then sustained by tight supplies of washed beans.
The popular beverage is still considered an affordable luxury in the developed world. Below is some recent history of its price moves in the futures market and on store shelves.
* May 1997: New York spot arabica coffee futures KCc1 surge to $3.18 per lb.
* 1997: The then Folgers Coffee Co raised prices for Folgers coffee by a staggering 29 percent due to soaring green bean prices. This was followed by another price hike of nearly 10 percent a couple months later.
* May 18, 2010: J.M. Smucker Co (SJM.N) raised list prices for majority of its Folgers, Dunkin' Donuts, Millstone and Folgers Gourmet Selections coffees by about 4 percent.
* May 21: Kraft Foods KFT.N raises list price of some Maxwell House and Yuban roast and ground coffee by about 4 percent.
* June 11: Arabica coffee futures KCc1 trading on ICE begin to rally on heavy fund buying following about five months of sideways dealings between $1.2655 and $1.3985 per lb.
* Aug. 3: Smucker's raises prices of Folgers and other well known brands by an average of 9 percent in the biggest widespread rise in years.
* Aug. 6: Kraft becomes second major coffee roaster to hike prices, raising list prices on select Maxwell House and Yuban ground by more than 10 percent. Instant coffee prices were also raised.
* Sept. 22: Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) said it may raise the price of packaged coffee and raise the cost for its large-sized and labor-intensive drinks due to surging prices in coffee and other commodities.
* Nov. 10: Arabica futures continue to soar well above $2 per lb and reach $2.1870, the highest since June 1997, as tight supplies of washed arabica beans are seen as the driving force behind the rally, in addition to speculators. This follows two years of significantly smaller-than-average crops in Colombia while supplies were also tight in Central America.
* Dec. 1: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz blasts financial speculators for the "tragic" 50 percent surge in coffee futures.
* Dec. 9: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc GMCR.O gives weak first-quarter profit outlook, in part due to expected volatility in coffee costs.
* Dec. 15: Kraft raises prices of its roast and ground Maxwell House and Yuban coffees by about 12 percent.
* Dec. 15: Massimo Zanetti Beverages USA raises its prices, percentage not specified.
* Dec. 31: Coffee futures finish 2010 up 77 percent at $2.4050 per lb, their strongest annual percentage increase in 16 years.
* Jan. 26, 2011: Starbucks says it expects rising coffee prices to hit profits more than previously thought but said it would not raise prices to cover the extra expense.
* Feb. 3: Spot arabica coffee futures KCc1 hit a 13-1/2-year high at $2.5360 per lb, up 85 percent from June 2010, when the rally began.
* Feb. 8: Smucker's raises its coffee prices by about 10 percent.
* March 9: Benchmark May arabica KCc2 futures on ICE hit a 34-year high at $2.9665 per lb.
* March 16: Kraft raises prices of Maxwell House and Yuban ground coffees by 22 percent and instant coffee by 10 percent. Tassimo and the Maxwell House International line were not affected.
* March 16: Massimo Zanetti Beverages USA raises prices of its brands including Chock Full o'Nuts and Hills Bros by an average of 12 percent.
* March 17: May robusta futures LRCc2 soar, lifting the contract to a huge $200 premium over July LRCc3 on heightened concern about the availability of supplies.
* March 18: May robusta futures LRCc2 hit a three-year high at $2,672 per tonne.
* March 18: Starbucks raises price of its packaged coffee by an average of 12 percent. (Compiled by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Vicki Allen)