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Gowanus-based Crop To Cup Coffee is on a mission to shine a light on the connection between the people drinking coffee in Brooklyn and the people growing it in Africa. They call their approach to sourcing and selling beans ‘relationship coffee.’

Check out this super-smooth video they’ve put together.  This little 60 second spot would fit right in on network prime time. It’s so pro that you probably wouldn’t even notice it were it sandwiched between ads for Volkswagen and The Gap, but if you pay attention you just might learn a few things you didn’t know about coffee. Or a lot of things.

So why are the Brooklyn Flea favorites rolling all this tape? Crop to Cup wants in with Walmart, the retail monster known for wiping out huge swaths of small American businesses by stocking its endless shelves with too-cheap-to-be-good products that are decidedly disconnected from the faces and circumstances of the people making them.

Walmart launched a competition called ‘Get on the Shelf’ to give small brands a shot at, well,  getting on their shelves, and Crop to Cup saw it as an opportunity to spread the gospel of ‘good coffee from good people’ to a much, much, larger audience.

Not surprisingly, this has stirred up some controversy. Walmart is notorious for squeezing its suppliers to sell their products at price points that offer razor-thin profit margins. Would getting conscious coffee on the shelves of Walmart actually help coffee farmers in Africa? Would it be a waste of time? Or should getting into bed with a giant retailer whose unsustainably low prices routinely wipe out small retailers be avoided at all costs?

Here’s a look at the debate that’s been (politely) raging on Crop to Cup’s Facebook page.

What do you think? Want to help Crop to Cup Trojan horse conscious coffee onto the shelves of Walmart? Vote for them here.

 

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2 Responses to Big Play: Crop To Cup Wants Its ‘Relationship Coffee’ On Walmart’s (Endless, Towering) Shelves

  1. Steven Bennett says:

    Honestly I don’t think its a good idea to get on the shelves of “Walmart”. The majority of shoppers who use “Walmart” do not know what the hell you are talking about anyways. I mean I have met educated people(Supposed) Who don’t even know who Harmid Karzai is???So don’t be surprised by the deer in the headlights look from customers who shop “Walmart’ .They “Crop to Cup” need to target the correct demographic. Sadly it isn’t “Walmart” customers,most but, not all which means a very small percentage.

  2. EB says:

    To me, the opposition against (Crop to Cup’s) Walmart (ambitions) is essentially elitist. A couture designer does not get attacked for making a line specifically for Target or Uniqlo, nor is their name or brand weakened. Why can’t we accept the same trend for food? I personally like seeing more organic, ethically sourced, and sustainable products being carried by Walmart and other big box shops, and I suspect that those companies — which we can all agree are still doing a good job — like it, too. The way to noticeably expand opportunities for small companies and enhance the benefits that go to producers is not by maintaining the status quo, whereby artisinal products are made for the privileged few, but by opening up supply to a wider consumer group. Despite the threat that may pose to the hipster’s sense of distinction and superiority.

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