Ready-to-drink coffee is a $2 billion industry, with options like Starbucks’ bottled Frappuccinos and Doubleshot espresso drinks stocking shelves. The market is projected to grow to $2.3 billion by 2020. If Coca-Cola can carve out a share in the market, they could help offset their declining soda sales with ready-to-drink coffee sales.
"Coke and Caribou’s first offering will be a chilled, slightly sweet dairy-and-coffee blend, said Michael Coles, chairman of Minneapolis-based Caribou. “There are several drinks that will be coming,”
Beverage titan Coca-Cola Co. plans to push further into the ready-to-drink coffee market this summer, introducing a new iced drink under the banner of the country’s No. 2 coffeehouse chain, Caribou Coffee Co.
Coke also hopes to move another drink, the coffee-and-chocolate flavored Godiva Belgian Blends, into national distribution.
Starbucks, whose Frappuccinos and other packaged drinks dominate the market through a partnership with PepsiCo, is high on the future of its newest iced coffee offering.
The companies also are preparing to roll out a long-sought hot vending machine, which will dispense nine-ounce cans of Starbucks coffee in recyclable steel cans with insulated labels.
The flurry of activity might not exactly recall the cola wars of years gone by. But Coke’s aggressiveness shows how important coffee-laced drinks have become, along with other beverages that deviate from the traditional soda recipes.
“Any of the major beverage companies, and smaller companies as well, are aware of the consumer trends for healthier products, more variety,” said Gary Hemphill, managing director of Beverage Marketing Corp.
While carbonated soft drinks still tower over the beverage market, with a 2005 retail value of $68 billion, sales are declining for the first time in decades, Hemphill said.
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