In the last decade, the Cuban-American population has grown in every state (with some of the fastest-growing in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky), according to the 2010 Census.
Smucker’s — manufacturers of jelly and ice-cream toppings, among plenty of other things — has taken note.
The company went out and purchased Rowland Coffee Roasts in May, which includes Café Bustelo coffee, an icon to Cuban-Americans in Miami.
Smucker’s spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher told NPR that the purchase is “part of a major effort to bring Hispanic consumers to the table.”[more]
“We already have a team at the plant and with the marketing offices, and our teams have also spent a great deal of time with consumers in Miami in their homes and watching how they use and enjoy those products,” Badertscher says (listen to her interview here).
Smucker’s also opened a pop-up shop in Miami, and there’s an e-store offering Bustelo beverage variations including flavored varieties meant to be served chilled.
NPR reports that Bustelo got its start in 1961 when “one homesick Cuban exile in Miami started selling coffee door-to-door to other homesick Cuban exiles.” That coffee has grown to be Bustelo and will likely now be more available throughout the country.
“That individual, that company and that brand — it represents a start of the Cuban-American experience in exile,” Andy Gomez, a senior fellow at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami told NPR. “That’s why I say the brand might change, because it has been sold to a larger entity, but the spirit won’t ever disappear.”
NPR notes that there is “a looming concern that Smucker’s might mess with perfection, or that the brand might get swallowed up entirely,” particularly since Smucker’s is also the owner of Folgers Coffee.