Kraft Foods and Starbucks row heads for court

KRAFT escalated its battle with Starbucks yesterday, asking a federal court to stop Starbucks from trying to sell its packaged coffee through a different distributor.

Kraft’s request is the latest salvo in a fight over Starbucks’ desire to end their 12-year-old partnership selling bags of Starbucks coffee at supermarkets and other retailers.

Kraft, North America’s largest packaged food maker, filed a preliminary injunction in US District Court in New York yesterday “to stop Starbucks from proceeding as if the agreement has been terminated, when, in fact, the contract is still in force.”

Starbucks is “proceeding with flagrant indifference to the terms of the contract and customary business practices,” said Kraft general counsel Marc Firestone.

Starbucks called Kraft’s move a “delaying tactic,” saying it risked creating unnecessary confusion for their shared customers and, in turn, consumers.

“Starbucks will vigorously oppose any action on Kraft’s part that would prevent Starbucks from rightfully assuming full control of our brand and business,” the company said in a statement.