SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. is launching a new line of beverages aimed at the 72% of households that have never tried a ready-to-drink coffee product, according to the IRI 2020 Household Panel.
To develop the new offerings, Starbucks conducted what it claimed to be its biggest body of research yet. The research found that consumers are seeking a smooth coffee taste with a small amount of milk and flavor, no preservatives, lower sugar and calories and at an accessible price point.
Consumer feedback indicated that cold brew has become more appealing to those not currently drinking RTD coffee, so the R&D team started with a cold-brew coffee base then chose flavor profiles inspired by popular cold coffee beverages from Starbucks coffee shops.
The result is Starbucks Cold & Crafted, made with cold-brew coffee with a splash of milk and light sweetness. The drink comes in three flavors: Coffee with a Splash of Milk & Vanilla, Coffee with a Splash of Milk & Mocha, and Coffee Sweetened Black. The vanilla and mocha flavors contain 90 calories and 15 grams of sugar, while the black variety contains 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar.
“The team’s primary focus was to develop lightly sweetened coffee beverages, below 100 calories, without compromising the taste profile,” said Manpreet Cheema, senior product developer on Starbucks’ R&D team. “Choosing the best roast profiles and brewing method was key to delivering on a smooth, refreshing sip, and we did months of tastings and consumer tests to make sure we got it just right.”
Starbucks Cold & Crafted retails for around $3 per 11-oz bottle at grocery stores and convenience stores.
The new beverages are a product of the North American Coffee Partnership, which Starbucks and PepsiCo, Inc. established in 1994. The partnership has resulted in several RTD beverage innovations, including Nitro Cold Brew in a can, multi-serve iced coffee, bottle Frappuccino chilled coffee drinks and Starbucks Doubleshot beverages.