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Starbucks launches RTD sparkling green coffee energy drinks


Kevin Reid, director of beverages at Starbucks Coffee Canada, spoke to Canadian Grocer about the company's Refreshers RTD drinks that have just hit grocery and convenience store shelves.

Canadian Grocer: What's unique about Starbucks Refreshers compared to other energy drinks on the market?

Kevin Reid: Starbucks Refreshers beverages were launched in our (retail) stores last summer. They deliver a distinctly new take on thirst-quenching refreshment while providing a natural boost of caffeine from green coffee and real fruit juice. These new ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers beverages are now available in a lightly carbonated, canned format in three new flavours in grocery, convenience and gas stations across Canada. With handcrafted Starbucks Refreshers and new ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers, we reinvented how consumers enjoy coffee.

What's the key ingredient in Refreshers that boosts energy?

Starbucks Refreshers – both handcrafted and ready-to-drink – contain green coffee extract. The green coffee used in the beverages is made from unroasted beans. All coffee starts as green beans found in the centre of the coffee cherry. When left unroasted, green coffee beans have a subtle, mild and fresh flavour, while still maintaining caffeine.

How much caffeine is in a single 355ml can?

New ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers contain 40-55 mg of caffeine per 355ml can. In comparison, ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers beverages contain two-thirds the caffeine of a shot of espresso (75 mg) and one-third the caffeine of a cup (8 fl oz.) of brewed coffee (150 mg).

Additionally, ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers deliver a thirst-quenching drink at 60 calories or less per 355ml can and contain vitamin C, a dietary antioxidant. Each 355 ml can retails for $2.99.

How are these products best merchandised in grocery and convenience?

A best practice is to block Starbucks products together as a portfolio to catch the consumer’s eye. Ready-to-drink Starbucks Refreshers beverages are part of a new and developing category within Canada. This presents retailers with a great opportunity to leverage unique innovation from Starbucks to attract new consumers to stores.

To maximize sales potential for this exciting new category we know that consumers will need to find the product easily.  Leading edge retailers who have been building separate “Starbucks sections” that call attention to the consumer and stand out within the store have been extremely happy with the sales to date.

What’s driving the beverage category at the moment in grocery retailing?

Products that deliver on taste, refreshment and are uplifting have all enjoyed success.

In-store merchandising that calls attention to strong portfolios of products has also driven growth. Blocking like products together, leveraging big brands, creating unique packaging and effectively positioning POS communication to call attention to new products and benefits have all driven category growth.

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