Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) has brewed up a plan that may come as a shock to some consumers. The coffee chain is offering customers a new option for cafe mocha and vanilla latte drinks that come at a lower cost. What’s more: they can be brewed from the comfort of your own home.
According to CNBC, Tuesday marked the day that Starbucks launched its portable versions of two of its most popular beverages, its cafe mocha and vanilla latte drinks, in the U.S. and Canada. The new drinks are parts of the company’s popular “Via” line, and will be priced at $6.95 for a pack of four, making them less expensive than those same beverage purchased at a Starbucks counter. The move may seem like a risky one on Starbucks’ part, considering the less expensive portable versions have the potential to upset Starbucks’ cafe business. However, spokesperson Linda Mills maintained via CNBC Monday that the company is not worried, because “it’s an opportunity for people to experience that latte taste from us when they can’t get to a Starbucks store.”
Thus, Mills highlights the understanding that Starbucks is operating under as it launches its first dairy-based drinks. The Seattle-based coffee giant already enjoys success from its line of instant coffees, but these are the first portable versions of specialty drinks that Starbucks has provided. The company believes that customers will still visit Starbucks locations no matter what, and these versions are for when “you can’t get to a Starbucks. It’s really for those types of occasions. It’s a big innovation from a Via perspective,” as explained by Mills.
CNBC reports that the latest iterations of Starbucks’ Via line will be available at grocery stores at $7.99 for a pack of five as early as this spring. They require customers to just add hot water to prepare. The coffee giant expects this new product to help Starbucks grab more of the at-home coffee market, and further expand its presence in the grocery store. The company already maintained a 30-percent share of the at-home coffee market in the U.S. as of late November, but now it is looking to increase that figure even more, as its Via and K-Cups lines are a vital part of the company’s overall growth strategy.
Aside from its grocery business, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz also shared back in July that the premium single cup category now accounts for nearly 30 percent of its total coffee sales, and spokespeople now maintain that the company anticipates those figures to keep rising despite the launch of its new portable coffee drinks. The world’s largest coffee chain is thus confident that customers will continue visiting its stores no matter what alternative options it provides, and Starbucks has proven that it usually knows what it is talking about.