Broad Street Licensing Group Food News

Starbucks Blinks: Blonde Roast

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It’s true blonds have more fun….

It’s rare, but Starbucks has blinked: in an effort to parry rivals Dunkin’ Brands and McDonald’s, the company is now offering a lighter Blonde Roast.

Its own research showed upwards of 54MM Americans preferred a lighter roast than Starbucks traditional “dark” (some would say “bitter”) flavor profile. Dunkin’s Original blend is a lighter roast and the bedrock of its success. The company says it generates 60% of its revenue from coffee sales, faring well enough during the economic slump to plan on doubling its current store total to 14,000 units by 2032, especially the West Coast (“Starbucks country”).

While Dunkin’ has fought a low-grade civil war with franchisees over its controversial coffee license with J.M. Smucker, the licensed coffee has actually helped it spread brand awareness outside the chain’s Northeast stronghold to areas with few or no Dunkin’ Donuts locations. And the Original Blend is the #1 SKU in grocery stores, reportedly the major reason Starbucks yanked its own retail license away from Kraft to manage internally.

The new Starbucks lighter blend will help the company at retail where Light and Medium roasts dominate the $1bn retail grocery coffee category. Studies show a quarter of all shoppers fail to make a purchase in the coffee aisle because they can’t find what they want, so Starbucks plans to introduce new, cleaner packaging to identify its blends for quick recognition by consumers.

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