The only thing sweeter than the familiar scent of fresh, steaming coffee in the morning is the first sip. While Target’s flagship coffee brand, Archer Farms, has been missing from its shelves since 2018, its flavor and impact have not been forgotten.
Learn more about Archer Farms’ history, its path to becoming certified fair trade, product line offerings, and more.
Archer Farms was introduced in 1995 as Target’s first in-store food brand. Produced organically, Archer Farms oversaw the preparation and distribution of several up-market grocery products to Target. Along with Simply Balanced, another in-house Target brand, Archer Farms, was replaced by Good & Gather in 2020.
About Archer Farms
Archer Farms is a brand of Coffee Bean International that hit the mainstream market as Target’s first in-house brand. The cornerstone of Archer Farms coffee has been its attention to detail and the reputable baristas behind the magic. The baristas were expertly trained for years and even served apprenticeships to qualify for their positions. Their goal was to change the public perception of mass-produced coffee without compromising on value for money.
Extensive attention to detail was paid in every part of the process, and the team at Archer Farms worked around the clock to think up new and exciting flavors for their consumers.
Archer Farms understands that drinking coffee is a subjective experience. Different people are drawn to different aspects, aromas, and flavor profiles. In response, they aimed to cater to all. You could find anything from your good old-fashioned single-origin coffee all the way to Candy Cane coffee during the festive season.
Archer Farms in the News
In March of 2019, several publications broke the news that Archer Farms coffee would be certified fair trade by 2022. Reuters claimed that approximately 20 percent of Archer Farms coffee was certified fair trade at the time of publication.
While the Archer Farms brand was replaced, the favorites from the in-store food brand have been reimagined, reformulated, and offered under the Good & Gather brand. Furthermore, Target hired notable leaders within the food and beverage industry from Walmart Stores Inc. and General Mills Inc.
Before the Archer Farms brand was discontinued, the coffee was sourced, roasted, and prepared by the wholesaler and distributor, Coffee Bean International (CBI). Now owned and operated by Farmer Bros. Company, CBI is highly committed to sustainability while roasting upwards of 10 million pounds of coffee each year.
Get a Taste of the Coffee
Once, Target’s premium in-house coffee brand, Archer Farms coffee line offerings included flavored coffees, ground and whole bean, certified organic options, Fair Trade options, single origins as well as blends, more high-end Direct Trade alternatives, and Cup of Excellence (CoE) options.
Standard coffees, such as the whole and ground beans, were sold in twelve-ounce containers retailing at approximately $7.00/bag, depending on the retailer and sale pricing. The more high-end options, like Direct Trade, Limited Roast, and CoE coffees, were packaged in reusable tins and sold in ten-ounce measurements with a price tag ranging between $7.29 per bag and $14.99 per bag.
When testing out Archer Farms’ Tierra Del Sol coffee, Writer Emily Johnson explained that the flavor was highly memorable and flavorful, tasting fruity, floral, and acidic simultaneously. She went so far as to cite it as the best grocery store coffee option for floral coffee lovers.
Based on a study conducted by Harvard Business School, Archer Farms coffee sales increased by 10 percent once they began featuring the certified fair trade label on their eligible products. At the time of publication, Grocery Dive indicated that Target was selling approximately six million pounds of Archer Farms coffee annually.
What Does it Mean to Be Certified Fair Trade?
Fairtrade is an initiative that ensures coffee farmers are fairly compensated for their harvesting efforts, enforcing a minimum payment of $1.40 per pound, or $1.70 per pound for organic.
Furthermore, Fairtrade builds stronger trade terms into the agreement, providing resources like sourcing plans, implementing reasonable payment terms, and providing pre-harvest financing access. Fairtrade certification promotes climate action and requires that women have equal opportunities to become entrepreneurs and leaders.
In a 2018 Kenyan coffee competition, four of the ten most flavourful coffees in the world were Fairtrade certified. Beyond that, more than half of Fairtrade certified coffee is also certified organic, with regional producer networks assisting coffee bean farmers in improving their bean quality and marketing success.
Archer Farms Coffee Reviews
By and large, Archer Farms coffee was a hit, and its removal from Target left many people disappointed.
Their Whole Bean Coffee Kona Blend was well-liked for its muted taste and lack of acidity. There was some contention because it carried a higher price tag than competitors, but overall, consumers were willing to pay extra for the coffee.
The Tanzania Kikafu Estate Direct Trade Light Roast received high praise for its rich flavor profile and just the right amount of acidity.
The Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe also made waves in the market, hailed as “One of the world’s most distinctive coffee origins at a Target near you.”
Archer Farms sought certified fair trade status for their coffee products, a certification that ensures products are created while adhering to environmental sustainability, safe working conditions, and fair compensation for the harvesters. It was last reported that 20 percent of Archer Farms’ products were fair trade certified.
The Archer Farms product line offered everything from whole and ground coffee beans to Direct Trade and Cup of Excellence (CoE) options. Studies showed that after Archer Farms placed the fair trade label on their eligible products, their sales rose by 10 percent as coffee drinkers gravitated towards social responsibility and sustainability.
Archer Farms products were removed from Target’s shelves in 2018 and replaced with Good & Gather—a premium in-house food product line that reformulated customer favorites from the Archer Farms and Simply Balanced product lines. Since its rollout, Good & Gather has generated more than $2 billion in sales, proving to be a successful private-label brand for Target.
It’s fair to say that Archer Farms will be missed. It offered consumers various ways to start their day, and the company certainly set the bar high for supermarket ground coffee.