Having established itself as a leading player in the rarified realm of “third wave coffee,” Chameleon Cold-Brew has now set its sights on bringing high-end coffee to a broader base of consumers with a new line of single-serve, ready-to-drink products.
Chameleon, which distributes organic and Fair Trade cold brew coffee concentrates across the U.S., launched the new beverages at the recently held Natural Products Expo West 2014 where CEO Chris Campbell and his team encouraged attendees to “evolve your coffee with us.”
In an interview with BevNET CEO John Craven, Campbell explained that Chameleon eschewed a diluted version of its coffee concentrate and instead updated its coffee roast and brewing process as a way to focus emphasize the coffee flavor “first and foremost.”
“We made the adjustments on the front end to extract the very best product out of the entire process, rather than just take what we’ve done and repackage it up and slap a label on it,” Campbell said.
Packaged in 10 oz. glass bottles, the line comes in three varieties — mocha, vanilla, original black — priced at $3.99 each. The mocha and vanilla versions are lightly sweetened and contain 20 calories each. While a handful of other high-end coffee brands, including Stumptown and Blue Bottle, have recently entered the RTD space with coffee and milk blends, Campbell said that Chameleon decided to avoid the infusion of milk or cream in the new products, citing complexities in production and high-calorie counts.
“Logistically, from a manufacturing capacity, it’s a lot easier to not have to deal with it, quite honestly. It [also] opens us up to a broader market opportunity,” Campbell said. Because of the way that we formulated the product, we get away with very little sugar, so we’re able to get in at 20 calories; there’s no way the dairy guys can do that.”
The new line will launch in Texas, and Chameleon will look to gain new distribution for the beverages via UNFI which recently took over distribution of Chameleon products from Green Shoots Distribution in California and the Mid-Atlantic. The company is also leaning on Presence Marketing for new placement of its coffee drinks after signing a new partnership agreement with Presence as the national broker of record for most of its accounts.
Watch this video to hear much more from Campbell about the development of the new RTD line, including the strategic decisions that led to the formulation of the products and the timing of their release. Campbell also talks about Chameleon’s sales and marketing approach as it pertains to competing coffee brands, in particular Starbucks.