| UK

Leon launches Fairtrade coffee in Sainsbury’s supermarkets

Food to-go and coffee chain is the latest hospitality business to make a major push into the lucrative at-home coffee market as café businesses seek to diversify in the post-pandemic world

Leon's new retail coffee range will be available at 493 Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK | Photo credit: LEON




Healthy fast food and coffee chain Leon will begin selling branded retail coffee at 493 Sainsbury’s supermarkets in the UK. The ground and whole bean varieties have been launched in partnership with Puro Fairtrade Coffee and the World Land Trust, with each bag purchased helping to save four sq m of rainforest in Tanzania.
 
In a press release, Leon said it had directly helped to save over eight million sq m (2,183 acres) of rainforest, or around 564,282 trees, through its coffee partnership and that it plans to protect a further 209,080 trees over the next two years
 
“It’s always been our mission to offer food that tastes good and does good, so we’re proud to now offer our triple-certified coffee in partnership with long-standing partner Puro in over 1,000 stocking points across 493 Sainsbury’s stores across the country,” said Ashley Davis, Managing Director of LEON Grocery.
 
Leon's supermarket partnership follows similar retail coffee strategies deployed by UK coffee chains seeking to capture a greater share of the booming at-home coffee market. In May 2020 the UK’s largest coffee chain, Costa Coffee, announced the expansion of its packaged coffee range across Europe.
 
In November 2020, Pret A Manger partnered with UK supermarket Waitrose and online giant Amazon to sell branded retail packaged coffee direct to consumers. In February 2021, Caffè Nero expanded its at-home coffee retail business by launching an online store, also on Amazon.

Leon’s retail coffee launch comes shortly after the chain was acquired by UK petrol station forecourt business EG Group for around £100m in April 2021. Announcing the acquisition, EG Group said it planned to open 20 new Leon stores a year from 2022.
 
Like many food-focused café chains, Leon’s business has been severely disrupted by the loss of commuter and office worker trade during the Covid-19 pandemic. In September 2020 Leon launched a coffee subscription service in a bid to adapt to new customer routines and the rise of home working. It has also sought to supplement revenues lost due to Covid-19 by selling a branded ready meals and condiments in UK supermarkets.

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