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McDonald's to sell packaged coffee

Published:Wednesday | August 20, 2014 | 12:00 AM

McDonald's plans to start selling its packaged coffee at supermarkets nationally by early next year, a move intended to help raise the profile of the coffee sold at its US restaurants.

The world's biggest hamburger chain has made a deal with Kraft Foods to manufacture and distribute the bags of McCafé ground and whole bean coffee, as well as single-cup pods that can be used in at-home coffee machines. Other chains, such as Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts, already sell branded packaged coffee at retailers.

McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, has highlighted coffee as a key growth opportunity, with CEO Don Thompson saying it can be a way to get customers into its more than 14,000 US restaurants. The chain has redesigned its coffee cups to have a more appealing look that people would want to carry around. And it's trying to make a bigger push into more profitable coffee drinks, such as flavoured lattés, rather than just drip coffee.

Last year, for instance, it introduced a pumpkin spice latté. A similar drink at Starbucks has a loyal following.

At an investor conference late last year, a McDonald's executive noted the chain's coffee sales have surged 70 per cent since the introduction of McCafé speciality coffees in 2009.

McDonald's Corp and Kraft Foods had said last year they were testing the packaged coffee in select markets.