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Kimbo - arising against fierce competition.

When the traveler looks down from the windows of the Hotel Paradiso onto the teeming and seemingly never-ending beauty of Naples, it isn't so much the well-honored bay or Vesuvius that catches the breath as much as a sense of dense human habitation, as old as time, sandwiched between a beautiful sea and mountain. The scene has something to do with espresso too, because in some way it has inspired one of Italy's most distinctive fees--Kimbo.

The idea of Naples as backdrop to Kimbo is important in that both are full-flavored and strong, sunny and without bitterness. The Neapolitans have a memorable cuisine, and it does not end with the main courses but continues on to pastries and coffee. Everything must have its character in the Neapolitan meal, just as everything, including espresso, must have character to exist in this exuberant and crowding place.

Spend a few days in Naples and then the assertiveness of the Kimbo blend is not such a mystery. Like so much in the city, it is made to be valuable, to be good, to be a pleasure striking enough to become a memory.

All of this to help explain why an obscure coffee brand from the south of Italy has experienced annual growth of 20% for several consecutive years and has arisen over the past six years to gain loyal drinkers throughout the nation, even against extremely competent and resourceful competition. Not that the company making Kimbo, Cafe do Brasil, is a giant of Italian industry. The company is a modest-sized family owned and managed company, just like thousands of other Italian companies. Its production passed 15,000 tons of roasted coffee in 1991, and sales advanced to $116 million.

Clearly, the secret of Kimbo is in the hands of the Rubino family, who own Cafe do Brasil and created the brand based on their generations of coffee blending and roasting experience in the best Neapolitan tradition. With the emphasis on distinctiveness and character in roast and blend, using only first class coffees direct from origin, the company has added the other ingredient necessary for success in consumer product merchandising--a strong faith in marketing.

Kimbo is now distributed in all regions of Italy. It holds about 8% of the home retail market in roasted coffee. Currently, sales are steady in southern Italy and expanding in the North. Supermarkets account for 55% of sales, with the remainder in specialty stores. The company's bar sector is relatively young and small, it was created only seven years ago and has been concentrated in the Campania region. Exports too are relatively recent and really just now starting to gain momentum, although tins and vacuum packs of Kimbo are available in more than a dozen national markets.
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Title Annotation:Cafe do Brasil S.p.A.'s Kimbo coffee increasing its market share in Italy
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Nov 1, 1992
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