The process of a new product

Volume 38, . Comments

Creativity, along with communication, commitment and character are Cafe Britt's core values.

Here we are in the middle of the "worst economic crisis of our lifetime", yet our creative staff is popping out really neat, new products. I love it.

Ideas for new products come from people in all walks of Britt life – our salespeople in the stores, the people who read customer e-mails in our mail-order department, the demo girls at supermarkets, family and friends.

Many of our new ideas come from people who work closely with specific products, such as Patricia at our chocolate factory and Carmen and Miguel at the roaster.

But ultimately, we channel all these suggestions to two people – Monica, who is responsible for turning an idea into a product, and Jenny, whose designs should be in the Louvre.

Our new stores at the Miami International Airport are selling products we’ve developed just for them.

Our Dark Chocolate-covered Orange candies celebrate Florida’s most famous fruit. A new White Chocolate-covered Lime candy is reminiscent of the classic flavor of key lime pie. The packaging for both products contains icons and images of Miami.

Our new Café Britt Fair Trade coffee made its debut in the Miami stores. This is to take advantage of the broad recognition that fair trade has in the U.S. market.

We’ve also introduced a new coffee, Sabor Cubano. It comes from Costa Rica’s same Fair Trade-certified coffee cooperatives, but this one is strong enough to hold its flavor, even when inundated with sugar, Cuban style.

New products aren’t limited to Miami. We’ve begun our first milk chocolate product – roasted coffee beans. Now these popular beans, which we call Chocobritt, come coated in your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate. And in February, we introduced two new Brittles--Hazelnut (addictive!!) and Almond to join our Macadamia Brittle.

Our latest pride and joy is our own Britt version of the classic Peruvian confection, chocotejas. These are pecans, prunes or other centers covered with a mixture of chocolate and sweetened condensed milk. Besides being deliciously sinful, they also have a beautiful package that looks like Peru.

Finally, our Britt Iced has really become the standard for cold coffee drinks. We partnered with Costa Rica’s dairy cooperative Dos Pinos to make an upscale product with a true coffee taste. I am proud that we have been able to create three flavors of ready to drink coffee that are cold brewed and mixed with UHT milk, so that they hold flavor without additives and can keep fresh without refrigeration. A diet version is in the works.

How cool is that, to be a place with all these creative people? And they’re thinking up new ideas, all the time.

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About Steve Aronson

New York coffee broker Steve Aronson founded Café Britt in 1985 to market roasted Costa Rican coffees to the world.


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