New name reflects Nabob’s position

Nabob Foods, the company that sparked a revolution in the roasted coffee business in Canada more than a decade ago with the introduction of a vacuum pack, is moving to solidify its position as a leading coffee maker.The company has changed...

Nabob Foods, the company that sparked a revolution in the roasted coffee business in Canada more than a decade ago with the introduction of a vacuum pack, is moving to solidify its position as a leading coffee maker.

The company has changed its name to the Nabob Coffee Company and has launched four new coffee blends aimed at capitalizing on the growing popularity of specialty coffees.

As much as the initiative is meant to continue the traditional battle for market share against such rivals as General Foods’ Maxwell House, Nabob – which is carried mostly in grocery stores – also hopes that by appealing to new specialty tastes it will help prevent potential erosion of coffee sales from the grocery chains.

Nabob President John Bell says he hopes his company will help prevent the retail coffee business from following the pattern of pet food sales.

Bell says specialty pet food stores have come from virtual obscurity a decade ago to their position today in which they account for about 35% of pet food sales.

And the stakes are high. Roast coffee accounts for about $240 million of retail sales annually. Of that, Nabob and Maxwell House each have about 25% of the market, with Nabob maintaining a stronghold in the West and Maxwell House continuing its grip on Quebec and Eastern Canada. They have about equal share in Ontario.

Nabob’s new marketing strategy has a mix of the conventional and the unexpected.

On the unexpected side is, first, its name change.

‘We view the specialty shops as allies,’ Bell says.

‘They bring the tradition of the intellectuals of the coffee house back to the coffee experience,’ he says.

‘And we want to capitalize on that by transforming ourselves from being a conventional packaged goods company into a focussed and dedicated coffee company, so that all our people will develop a real passion for coffee and then take that to the trade and the consumer.’

To get that message across at the store level, Nabob has taken the unconventional approach of using in-store Infoshelf media products on a long-term basis to distribute detailed information that would appeal to the coffee cognoscenti.

And the tv campaign, which includes a 60-second spot, builds on the romance and heritage of coffee as well as promoting Nabobs new blends.

The new blends are African Safari Blend, Full City Dark Roast, South Pacific Blend and Milano Espresso Roast.

Palmer Jarvis Advertising, Vancouver, created all in-store materials including brochures and posters and trade and co-op materials; Harrod and Mirlin, Toronto, developed tv and print advertising; and The Watt Group handled the new package design.