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Behind the Beans: Folgers

A jar of Folgers Classic Roast Instant Coffee Crystals

Folgers Classic Roast is labeled “100% pure coffee.” The company itself is operated by Proctor & Gamble, one of the largest American-owned multinational corporations in the world. Folgers is the largest coffee brand in the U.S. and the leader in overall coffee sales.

When Folgers was contacted for information about the source of its coffee, a Folgers employee named Amanda said that the coffee was “grown in different mountainsides where the altitudes are high…. Folgers uses coffee beans grown in Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, North America, Oceania… different areas, including Ethiopia and Mexico.”

Proctor & Gamble has been criticized in the past for helping to drive coffee prices down in the recent coffee crisis, paying coffee growers only a fraction of the fair trade price. In 2003, the company introduced Millstone Signature, a new premium brand of coffee that paid farmers more than double the current average for a pound of green coffee. However, while Proctor & Gamble earns more than one billion dollars per year from Folgers sales—while the average coffee farmer earns about 300 dollars—it has refused to expand its fair trade coffee to include the Folgers brand.

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