The battle for single-serve coffee dominance is really brewing with the announcement that supermarkets and other retailers will start selling Starbucks K-Cup portion packs for Keurig’s single-cup machines in November.
The Seattle coffee giant also plans to launch sales on its Web site and Keurig owner Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ site next August, and at Starbucks stores later next year.
While Canton-based Dunkin’ Donuts beat its rival to the punch when it started selling its own branded K-Cups at Dunkin’ stores this month, Starbucks’ broader approach is likely the winning strategy, said Argus Research Co. analyst John Staszak.
“(Dunkin’ is) really limiting themselves if they don’t tap the groceries,” Staszak said. “It’s probably always best to get through the maximum number of outlets. I know Starbucks is doing real well with VIA (instant coffee) through supermarkets.”
Starbucks said it plans to build its K-Cup sales into a $1 billion business over time. Its VIA Ready Brew instant coffee eclipsed $200 million in sales at Starbucks and supermarkets in its first year, according to the company.
Dunkin’, meanwhile, reiterated that its K-Cups will be available exclusively at its 6,800 Dunkin’ stores throughout the country.
“As an almost 100 percent franchised concept, our primary focus is on driving our franchisees’ profitability, and we believe our restaurants are the logical and best place to make Dunkin’ Donuts K-Cup portion packs available to consumers,” spokesman Andrew Mastrangelo said.
Starbucks’ K-Cup offerings will include its Breakfast Blend, Pike Place Roast, House Blend, Sumatra and French Roast, and two selections of Tazo tea.By Donna Goodison