Step Four: Distribution

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Once the coffee is packaged into K-Cups®, it is stored in a warehouse before being distributed. After storage at processing plants, K-Cups® are distributed to various stores where they are placed on shelves for consumers to purchase (Creating Sustainable Products). The energy used to power the warehouses and retail locations as well as the fuel used to transport the coffee and transport consumers to the retail locations contribute to the environmental impact of this stage. The companies involved in distributing the commodity are attempting to reduce their fuel use. The pallets used to store K-Cup® packs in trucks have been reconfigured so that 23% more packs can fit in each truckload (Creating Sustainable Products). K-Cups® are distributed to a large selection of retail and grocery stores throughout the United States as well as Canada. These include Costco, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sam’s Club, Target, Walmart, Kmart, Kroger, Publix, Harris Teeter, and more (Keurig®.com Store Locater).

As mentioned previously, the company’s attempt to reduce the products’ environmental impacts can be seen as a marketing technique. Keurig® K-Cup® producers do not want to lose customers due to the horrible effect their plastic coffee pods have from a waste standpoint. Once people started realizing how detrimental K-Cups® can be on the environment, I am sure the company began to worry about a decrease in sales. However, reducing the number of trucks necessary and thus reducing car pollution could have more to do with reducing fuel costs for the company than reducing their environmental footprint. The Keurig® company has significantly grown in popularity, and I’m sure the high-up executives plan to keep the company at the top. I’d like to think that they want to reduce environmental impacts because they know how important it is to reverse anthropogenic effects on the planet, but further analysis from a business standpoint makes their recent sustainability effort seem more like a necessary strategy to keep sales up.

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