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Kraft Foods cuts U.S. coffee prices by 6 percent; cheaper beans cited Smucker made similar reduction

Kraft Foods Inc. is lowering coffee prices in the U.S. by about 6 percent, one week after J.M. Smucker Co. announced a similar reduction.

Kraft said Tuesday that the price reduction covers its Maxwell House and Yuban brands and excludes Gevalia, Tassimo and the Maxwell House International line of specialty soluble beverages.

The Kraft price cut translates to 20 cents per pound on roast and ground coffees and 2 cents per ounce on instant coffees.

"We evaluate the various market factors and make our pricing decisions when we feel it's appropriate for the business," spokeswoman Bridget MacConnell said.

Smucker's price cut, also about 6 percent, primarily affected its Dunkin' Donuts, Folgers and Folgers Gourmet Selections lines.

Prices for coffee beans have soared in recent years in part because of growing demand and harsh weather. Those rising prices, along with higher fuel and packaging costs, prompted companies such as Smucker, Kraft, Starbucks Corp., Peet's Coffee and Tea Inc., and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. to increase the prices they were charging their customers.

Prices for the beans are starting to come down, allowing coffee makers to charge their customers less for roast, ground and instant coffee.

Kraft, which is based in Northfield, Ill., is working on separating into two businesses. One would focus on international snack brands, and the other on its North American grocery business.

The company reported earlier this month that its second-quarter earnings rose 4 percent and its revenue climbed 13 percent.

Shares of Kraft, whose other brands include Oscar Meyer and Oreo, rose 54 cents to $34.09 Tuesday.

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