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Behind the Beans: Yuban

A can of Yuban Original coffee, with a Rainforest Alliance Certified label

This Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee is operated by Kraft, which owns the Maxwell House Coffee Company. Kraft’s parent company is the Altria Group, the corporation formerly known as Philip Morris.

Yuban’s 100% premium Arabica coffee comes from the “lush areas of South America,” says employee Anita. “We don’t comment on bean blends as it is proprietary.”

Yuban’s partnership with the Rainforest Alliance “guarantees that at least 30 percent of all coffee beans that go into Yuban coffee are officially certified by the Rainforest Alliance, making Yuban the largest supporter of Rainforest Alliance sustainable coffee beans in the world.” The company prides itself on being a supporter of sustainable agriculture and development. However, as Anita says, “the country of origin of the coffee is not as important as quality of coffee.”

The Rainforest Alliance coffee only makes up less than two percent of Kraft’s coffee bean purchases, and the 30 percent minimum certified beans means that in order to keep prices low, the other two-thirds of Yuban’s coffee must contain non-certified beans. While the certification includes fair labor practices, it does not constitute fair trade and does not set a minimum price paid to farmers. Kraft has yet to purchase fair trade coffee.

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