Starbucks Hopes Coffee Drinkers Prefer Blonde

Rolling out Starbucks Blonde Roast to attract new customers

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Coffee Co. has introduced Starbucks Blonde Roast, a new roast profile for the coffeehouse chain. As with the introduction of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew in the instant coffee category, Starbucks recognized an opportunity to attract new customers as well as meet needs of existing customers looking for a lighter-roast coffee, it said.

More than 40% of U.S. coffee drinkers--or approximately 54 million consumers--prefer a lighter-roast coffee, according to company research. Additionally, more than 70% of total premium coffee sales in grocery are in the light- and medium-roast categories, it said, citing Nielsen.

"We recognized the unmet consumer need for a super-premium light-roast coffee, and our coffee developers went to work to craft a great-tasting, quality lighter-roast coffee we are proud to stand behind," said Cliff Burrows, Starbucks president of the Americas. "This is a significant opportunity for Starbucks to gain a greater share of the brewed coffee market--both in our stores and down the coffee aisle."

Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee supports Starbucks growth strategy to innovate with new products, enter new categories and expand into new channels of distribution, it added.

Available beginning in January 2012 at Starbucks retail stores and where groceries are sold, Starbucks Blonde Roast will be brewed in stores and available in whole bean, roast and ground, as well as in Starbucks VIA Ready Brew and K-Cup Portion Packs.

The name Starbucks Blonde Roast reflects Starbucks roasting artistry and style and indicates a coffee that is light bodied and flavorful. Coinciding with the launch of Starbucks Blonde Roast in January is the introduction of new coffee packaging organized by roast--Starbucks Blonde Roast, Starbucks Medium Roast and Starbucks Dark Roast.

"Not only does Starbucks Blonde Roast provide Starbucks with an opportunity to reach a new category of coffee drinkers within the $5.6 billion U.S. packaged coffee category, but by organizing our coffees by Blonde, Medium and Dark, it makes it easier for our customers to find the taste that appeals to them," said Jeff Hansberry, president of channel development for Seattle-based Starbucks. "This is important, since the average consumer spends about 60 seconds in the coffee aisle to make a purchasing decision, based on taste and intensity. We believe the result for Starbucks will be an increased share of the coffee market."

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