Starbucks, Green Mountain strike single cup deal

by Keith Nunes
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SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (G.M.C.R.), Waterbury, Vt., have entered a strategic alliance for the sale of branded Starbucks and Tazo tea product in K-Cup portion packs for the G.M.C.R. Keurig Single-Cup brewing system. Starbucks and G.M.C.R. plan to make Starbucks K-Cup portion packs available through food, drug, mass, club, specialty and department store retailers throughout the United States and Canada beginning in the fall of 2011. The companies expect to expand Starbucks K-Cup portion pack and Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system distribution to Starbucks stores in 2012.

“Today’s announcement is a win for Starbucks, a win for G.M.C.R. and most importantly a win for consumers who want to enjoy Starbucks coffee with the Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system,” said Howard Schultz, president, chief executive officer and chairman of Starbucks. “Our research shows that more than 80% of current Starbucks customers in the U.S. do not yet own a single-cup brewer and our relationship will enable Starbucks customers to enjoy perfectly brewed Starbucks coffee at home, one quality cup at a time.”

Overall coffee category growth in the United States last year was driven by single-cup sales of nearly $2 billion, according to the companies. Starbucks expanded its presence in the category last year through the introduction of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew.

“This relationship is yet another example of G.M.C.R.’s strategy of aligning with the strongest coffee brands to support a range of consumer choice and taste profiles in our innovative Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system,” said Lawrence J. Blanford, president and c.e.o. of G.M.C.R. “Starbucks loyal consumers will soon be able to choose, brew and enjoy their favorite Starbucks coffee in their own homes through the quality, convenience and consistent preparation of the Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system.”

In mid-February, Starbucks also announced it was entering into an agreement with Courtesy Products, a provider of in-room coffee service to hotels, to offer Starbucks ground coffees for use in Courtesy’s CV-1 on-demand brewed coffee system. The CV-1 system is used in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms throughout the United States, and Starbucks coffees will be available for use in the system starting this fall.
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