Kraft Foods has reportedly started arbitration proceedings against Starbucks to force the company to pay a fee exit its 12-year partnership. The announcement from Kraft, which distributes bags of Starbucks’ whole bean and ground coffee to supermarkets across the US, marked an escalation of a dispute which began earlier this month when Starbucks declared its intention of walking away from the relationship next March. Kraft reported that its contract with Starbucks remains in force in perpetuity. Starbucks has said that Kraft failed to work closely with it on marketing issues, resulting in “the erosion of brand equity and experience at grocery that Starbucks customers have come to expect”.