THRIVE Farmers puts more profit into coffee farmers’ pockets

By Mary Ellen Shoup contact

- Last updated on GMT

A growing income allows a THRIVE Farmers producer more opportunities to focus on improving his or her production even more by advancing techniques to improve environmental sustainability," the company said.
A growing income allows a THRIVE Farmers producer more opportunities to focus on improving his or her production even more by advancing techniques to improve environmental sustainability," the company said.

Related tags: Coffee

THRIVE Farmers profit-sharing business model lessens the reliance on the volatile commodity market by giving coffee farmers direct access to the marketplace to sell their coffee.  

"Our goal is to create as many opportunities for farmers as possible. This begins with our unique approach to the supply chain and continues through ongoing support and partnership,” ​THRIVE Farmers president Tom Matthesen told BeverageDaily.

Founded in 2011, Atlanta-based THRIVE Farmers developed a revenue-sharing platform that allows farmers to maintain ownership until point of sale by THRIVE. THRIVE Farmers' revenue-sharing model removes all connection to the volatile commodity market price, allowing the farmers to receive a stable, predictable and higher price.

Most importantly, the company said, is that the farmer is able to participate economically at the end of the supply chain process, where they are closest to the consumer and where their coffee has the most value.

The THRIVE model provides farmers with roughly five to ten times more revenue than they would typically receive through other business models, the company said.

"Through a direct partnership, consumers receive the satisfaction of knowing not only where the coffee came from, but also who benefits from their purchase."

THRIVE Farmers distributes coffee to roasters, coffee houses, restaurants, and retail grocers.

Consumer demand for transparency drives success

Matthesen cites a growing demand for transparent and sustainable products as a primary cause for the company's recent growth. In 2014, the national fast-casual restaurant, Chick-fil-A, began sourcing all of its coffee from THRIVE Farmers to provide its customers with a farmer-direct coffee option.

This coffee meets the Specialty Coffee Association of America's standard for specialty-grade coffee. Chick-fil-A was the first restaurant in the QSR/FSR industries to feature high-quality coffee of this standard, and along with it, a sustainable product that benefits farmers.

THRIVE Farmers give growers 50% to 75% of the sales of the finished beans through a corporate contract.

"We prioritize the thousands of coffee farmers we work with in coffee growing regions around the globe. As we continue partnering with companies that share our belief in the power of purposeful purchasing for global impact, the demand to partner with farmers grows," ​Matthesen said.

Corporate social responsibility and profitability

Integrating purposeful purchasing into corporate social responsibility efforts is a profitable decision. Instead of year-end donations, business can integrate buying habits that consider the economic well being of people across supply chains. If consumers demand more sustainable products, the companies that provide those grow by supplying that demand.

THRIVE Farmers was recently named No. 19 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest privately-held companies with a minimum revenue of $20m in the US. It has grown more than 8,000 percent since 2012. With this growth comes the opportunity to add more farmers to its system. Today, the company has a network of more than 5,000 farmers in coffee growing regions across the globe. 

Related topics: Tea and Coffee, Markets, Sustainability

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