Dunkin’ Donuts is launching a line of bottled coffee beverages in early 2017. Coca-Cola will manufacture, distribute, and sell the product. It’s the doughnut maker’s first foray into the ready-to-drink coffee market. Call it late to the party: Starbucks and PepsiCo joined forces more than 20 years ago to launch Starbucks' bottled Frappuccino. But it’s a good time for bottled coffee, and there’s a boost in there for all parties involved.
Here’s the good thing about bottled coffee: you can pop into the gas station or the drug store or even a bulk retailer and grab yourself some. And coffee companies, big and small, want in on this grab-and-go goodness.
"Bottled coffee ready-to-drink is a hugely exploding market in the U.S," Spencer Turer, vice president of the Vermont firm Coffee Analysts, said. He said Dunkin Donuts already sells ground coffee and single-serve cups at retail outlets, but Coca-Cola, with its vast national distribution network, will help get the bottled stuff into more hands.
"This is a great opportunity to bring their products to consumers who don’t live near stores," Turer said.
And it’s an opportunity for Coca-Cola and Pepsi, which partnered with Starbucks on bottled Frappuccinos. Starbucks also will team up with Anheuser-Busch to start selling bottled tea next year. Soft drink sales have slumped, so companies like Coke and Pepsi are turning to flavored water, energy drinks, even milk.
"They’re really now beverage companies, they’re not necessarily carbonated soft drink companies," David Henkes, beverage analyst with Technomic said.
But if you’ve ever stood in line at a coffee shop and listened to people’s orders, you know how annoyingly particular people can be. Now try bottling that.
"So the trick is really to develop a product that kind of can bridge that," Gary Hemphill, managing director of research for Beverage Marketing Corporation said. He’s not saying Dunkin Donuts has to make a product that’s all things to all people, but it definitely has to have mass appeal.