Starbucks leads $1B light roast coffee segment

Company's research says 40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers prefer lighter roasts. Will this trend continue to surge?

Starbucks Coffee Co. (NASDAQ: SBUX) aims to grow share of the 40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers who say they prefer a lighter roast by using an innovative cross-channel campaign to win them over to Starbucks Blonde Roast. Starbucks has already seen significant success since introducing its lighter roast coffee last year. Starbucks Blonde Roast packaged coffee sales were 79 percent incremental in grocery and 70 percent incremental at Starbucks retail stores, driving growth across all channels in the nearly $1 billion light roast coffee segment.

“For those who think Starbucks coffee is too dark, we now have an answer. We’re excited about the response we’ve seen over the past year and are looking forward to bringing the taste of our milder, easy-drinking Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee directly to even more consumers nationwide.”

“Starbucks Blonde Roast is a new roast curve for Starbucks that celebrates our coffee heritage and roasting expertise and introduces new customers to our coffee,” says Craig Russell, senior vice president, Global Coffee, for Starbucks. “For those who think Starbucks coffee is too dark, we now have an answer. We’re excited about the response we’ve seen over the past year and are looking forward to bringing the taste of our milder, easy-drinking Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee directly to even more consumers nationwide.”

In another sign that the company is reaching out to new customers, Starbucks created Vanilla Blonde, its first handcrafted brewed coffee that features a sweeter taste profile with the addition of vanilla flavored syrup added to its lightest roast. Realizing approximately 80 percent of brewed coffee drinkers add milk or sugar to their coffee, Vanilla Blonde gives brewed coffee drinkers their own customizable option at Starbucks.

Starting today, millions of Americans will have the opportunity to taste Starbucks Blonde Roast and Vanilla Blonde thanks to an extensive cross-channel sampling and sharing campaign featuring millions of offers for a free tall (12 fl. oz.) cup of Starbucks Blonde Roast or Vanilla Blonde and $1 off any Starbucks packaged coffee or Starbucks K-Cup packs in retail stores and where customers buy groceries.

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