Office managers and coffee addicts take note: Stock up on K-Cups now.
Keurig Green Mountain said on Thursday that it will raise prices on coffee products and its signature K-Cups by as much as 9 percent beginning Nov. 3. It's the latest in a long line of companies to implement a price hike in response to the soaring cost of coffee beans. Starbucks, Folgers, Kraft Food Groups, and J.M. Smucker Co. (the distributor of Dunkin' Donuts packaged coffee) have all taken similar steps in recent months, announcing price hikes between 8 and 10 percent.
Coffee devotees are suffering the far-reaching consequences of Hemileia vastatrix, a parasitic fungus better known as coffee leaf rust that is devastating crops of beans in major producer countries. In the past two years alone, the rust has caused more than $1 billion in economic damage across Latin America and the Caribbean. At the same time, Brazil, the world's largest producer of arabica beans (the variety favored by roasters), has lost nearly one-fifth of its crop to severe drought.
Unfortunately, coffee leaf rust is something experts have known about for centuries and have been largely unable to stop. Researchers are working on developing new, resistant types of beans, but those could be years or decades off. For now, your best bet is to hit the stores and fill your shelves before costs go up.