Nestlé is ditching the cardboard-style canister used for its Partners' Blend Fairtrade coffee and is moving it into more traditional glass jars in a bid to kickstart sales of the brand.
From next month, Partners' Blend will be transferred to the distinctive jars that Nestlé uses for its premium Gold Blend, Cap Colombie and Alta Rica lines in an attempt to align the product with the rest of the Nescafé portfolio.
Nestlé said the packaging revamp followed research showing that consumers were not aware of the product's taste profile and didn't associate it with the Nescafé range. A spokesman said: "The move to a glass jar allows the coffee granules to be seen, so that the product's quality is clearly visible. There will be a taste descriptor on the front of pack, giving the reassurance of a great tasting coffee."
Partners' Blend, which carries accreditation from the Fairtrade Foundation, was the first mainstream Fairtrade coffee to be produced in the UK by one of the major coffee firms. Its packaging was a departure for the Nescafé brand in order to demonstrate its Fairtrade positioning. However, sales have been slow since its launch in October last year and it has lost out to Kenco's Sustainable Development coffee in a jar, launched in the same week, which has clocked up more than double the sales of its rival.
Ruth Willis, strategic planning manager for Nestlé hot beverages, admitted that Partners' Blend had got off to a slow start, but said it was difficult for companies to make an impact in the Fairtrade coffee category. "Partners' Blend is small for us," she explained. "The translation to sales is not enormous yet but it is something we believe in. It has taken significant investment and we'll continue to drive it, but it is difficult to get one product in a huge coffee bay to stand out."