Starbucks “Coffee in a Can” in Japan and Taiwan

Starbucks Japan has launched its first ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee, shown here:

starbucks_RTD_japan.jpg

Starbucks “Discoveries” will initially be offered in two flavors, Seattle (latte) and Milano (espresso) and will be sold in the refrigerated section of convenience stores. According to the company, “In developing this new RTD coffee beverage, Starbucks conducted research and found that Asian consumers perceived chilled cup coffee as the highest quality of all RTD coffee beverages. Starbucks Discoveries is made fresh and is kept refrigerated, with a short, 14-day shelf life, one of the shortest on the market today. Additionally, during consumer research most Starbucks customers in Asia believed that chilled cup coffee was the best way for Starbucks to enter the market outside of their retail stores. The launch of Starbucks Discoveries represents Starbucks first entry into the chilled cup coffee segment anywhere in the world. The Company took more than a year to create a superpremium ready-to-drink coffee designed to appeal to the local taste preferences in Asia, using the same high-quality coffee found in all Starbucks retail stores and coffee-based products worldwide.”

RTD coffee is big in Japan. Coke, for example, has done well with its Georgia brand of RTD, shown here:

Kyoto_georgia.jpg

But it looks like Starbucks is going after the high-end coffee-in-a-can market. This makes good sense because I doubt it will be able to squeeze its way into the vending machinese anytime soon and becaue Starbucks has done well by taking the high (margin) road.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.