Speculation Fizzes About Coke and Coffee

The company Datamonitor is reporting on rumors that have resurfaced that Coca-Cola might be developing a new incarnation of its flagship brand – a coffee based soft drink.

Coke’s mid-calorie soda, C2, faced had disappointing sales numbers, and it’s looking to several other brand variants to improve the company’s overall performance.

It is widely known that Coke has registered three potential brand names for a possible coffee offering – Coca-Cola Blak, Makkio and Maquio – and the drink that may be sold in the US and Europe by next year. But the form of the launch is still unclear: will it be a coffee-cola launch, like Coke with Lime, or a ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee product?

According to Datamonitor, Coke should “examine the potential of a fully fledged RTD coffee product,” as it’s report noted that “Cold, portable RTD coffee-based beverages have taken off in the US over the past few years, driven in part by the more general ‘Starbucks phenomenon.’ The drinks tend to be marketed in one of two ways, as an indulgence drink or as an energy drink.”

With their Frappuccino and Starbucks’ DoubleShot, PepsiCo and Starbucks’ joint venture, has done very well, leading both the energy category of RTD coffee drinks and the RTD coffee category. Both products are marketed more as a lifestyle brand than a flavorful treat, according to Datamonitor.

It could be to Coke’s advantage to challenge PepsiCo in either the indulgence or energy RTD coffee category, as it has a distribution network on par with PepsiCo, the company notes.

“Indeed, Coke does have RTD coffee experience: its Georgia coffee is the category’s market leader in Japan, though a previous US trial of an RTD coffee known as Planet Java was curtailed after it failed to meet Coke’s financial expectations,” according to Datamonitor. “The European and US markets could be ripe for a hefty competitor to PepsiCo/Starbucks. With its extensive distributor resources and Japanese RTD coffee experience, Coca-Cola could yet successfully challenge the Frappuccino/DoubleShot stronghold.”