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Coffee Giant Plays Light Coffee-Dark Coffee

November 29, 2010

Starbucks Coffee - through its Seattle’s Best Coffee brand – has just announced a marketing innovation that will hit the supermarket shelves this coming month. SBC’s innovation is in its packaging, which also reveals its expanded choices in roasts. The new offerings mean that customers can select two lighter roasts in addition to levels that gradually darken to a French roast equivalent. With the lighter additions, SBC is broadening its appeal to the greatest number of coffee drinkers, the 85% who drink medium and light roasts. Most of these 85% are the Folgers and Maxwell House customers, so SBC is now in a position to help these coffee drinkers move up to a premium brand.

SBC’s owner, Starbucks, is notorious for its very dark-roasted, to the point of burnt, style. So now they will be offering a much broader range through their SBC brand, kind of a Good Roast/Bad Roast strategy.

The other half of SBC’s innovation is the packaging. The level of roast will be designated by a large number from 1 to 5 spot-on the middle of the package, centered in a white circle. It can’t be missed and we wonder if this is also to attract the older coffee drinker and those of us who squint to read the small print on packages, all of whom will definitely be able to spot these digits. The packages are also color-coded in five quite attractive colors. All this - to save us from the crowds reading packages and choking up the coffee aisle.

There’s a better way to avoid coffee-aisle congestion. You’re already in a 24-7 coffee store accessible from your living room, doing away with the need to stand in any aisle. Not only that, but you can increase your choices of coffees immensely. Self-selecting searches whittle the potential selections down even more, or the shopper can choose from twelve categories (including “Light” and “French”) to eliminate the least interesting choices quickly.

And even better, ROASTe’s coffees don’t sit on grocery store shelves, but come freshly roasted to your door. It doesn’t get any better.

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