World's largest specialty coffee retailer Starbucks Corp. (SBUX: Quote) said Thursday it will debut the Keurig single-serve K-cup coffee pods at its retail outlets next Tuesday that will provide customers the coffee convenience in their own kitchens. It will be adding additional blends of coffee and also teas in July.
"The availability of Starbucks K-Cup packs in our retail stores is an added convenience for our customers and a complement to the variety of coffee choices we provide," said Cliff Burrows, Starbucks president, U.S. and the Americas.
This will lead to Starbucks' premium coffees being conveniently available to Starbucks' loyal consumers at home along with the quality, convenience and consistent preparation of the Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system.
The single-cup coffee packets for home brewing systems are supplied in a partnership with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. (GMCR: Quote).
Starbucks entered into a strategic manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sales relationship with smaller rival Green Mountain in March 2011 so as to expand its presence in the new and fast-growing U.S. single-serve coffee market. However, Starbucks first entered the growing single-serve market in 2009 with its VIA Ready Brew.
Seattle-based America's iconic coffee brand began selling the Keurig single-serve K-Cups in supermarkets and other retail outlets in November 2011. However, it has now decided to supply them through participating Starbucks retail stores nationwide from June 12.
The company said in April that it has already shipped 230 million of the cups in the five months since its launch, capturing 15 percent of the premium single-cup at home market. Starbucks said in late January that it intends to ultimately make Starbucks Coffee K-Cup packs a billion-dollar business over time.
"Following the successful launch of Starbucks K-Cup packs into food, drug, mass, and club channels last November, we are looking forward to offering Starbucks K-Cup packs to the millions of customers who visit our stores every week," Burrows added.
Starbucks said the most popular Pike Place medium roast and Sumatra dark roast coffees will be available in 12-count packs for $11.95 immediately.
Meanwhile, Starbucks Veranda Blend, a blonde roast coffee, and Caffè Verona, a dark roast coffee, will be added to the assortment in July. The Tazo-branded K-Cup Tea portion pods such as Tazo Awake and Tazo Zen will also be available in July.
Many U.S. office workers are familiar with Green Mountain's Keurig Single-Cup Brewing system because the automated vending machines, which allow users to choose from a variety of coffee and tea, are a common fixture in many a company break rooms.
Starbucks is also in the process of launching its own single-serve home coffee brewer, called Verismo, at its stores by the end of 2012. The company will market and sell Verismo machines using its strategic relationship with German-based Krueger GmbH & Co. KG.
The company noted that its machines will target a different market as they are designed to make better single-cups of espresso and other high-pressure coffee drinks.
SBUX closed Thursday's regular trading session at $53.44, down $0.03 or 0.06% on a volume of 7.24 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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