WAWA, Pa. -- Wawa Inc. has added made-to-order cold-brew to its portfolio of Rainforest Alliance Certified products.
In March, the convenience-store chain announced an initiative to certify all its espresso drinks through the nonprofit. After certifying its cold-brew offerings, the retailer has reached its 2018 benchmarks for a broader goal to sustainably source all its coffee varieties within the next two years.
The Rainforest Alliance is an advocacy group working to protect and develop the environment and farming communities through safe, sustainable farming standards. Coffee beans that receive the Rainforest Alliance certification are grown at farms working to maintain ecosystems, including wildlife habitat, water and soil.
“Many elements go in to creating a great cup of coffee—the roast, grind, water and brew method; however, it all starts with bean selection,” said Michael McLaughlin, concept development manager for Wawa Coffee and Beverages. “The best beans come from farms that are able to commit to the highest standards, which include accounting for sustainable production methods and the welfare of farm workers.”
Appealing to consumers who increasingly demand social responsibility from brands, McLaughlin said every cold brew and espresso purchase contributes to safe working conditions and access to medical care and education for growers and their families.
About 44% of consumers say availability of sustainable items and ingredients is important in their retail foodservice purchase decisions, up from 40% in 2015, according to data firm Technomic’s Retailer Meal Solutions Consumer Trend Report.
In January, the retailer launched its Wawa Reserve line featuring small-batch, specialty-grade coffees that make up just 3% of the world’s coffee. 7-Eleven Inc. followed suit in March with its Seven Reserve product launch of 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified Arabica beans. Responsible sourcing of coffee and coffee packaging is also a goal of the Irving, Texas-based c-store chain, which is moving toward a 20% reduction in its energy and packaging footprint by 2025.
Wawa has nearly 800 c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C. The Wawa, Pa.-based chain ranked No. 9 in CSP’s 2018 Top 202 list of the largest c-store chains in the United States.
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