Dunkin Donuts Iced Coffee

by The Coca-Cola Company

Review: Dunkin Donuts Ready-to-Drink Iced Coffees Stand to Make a Splash

Posted: Feb 08, 2017 at 3:24 PM (Last Updated: Feb 10, 2017 at 11:38 AM)

Covers Products: French Vanilla, Mocha, Original

With ready to drink (RTD) coffee a $2 billion category and just about every coffee chain in America having taken a crack at it, we’re honestly somewhat surprised that it has taken this long for there to be a Dunkin’ Donuts’ branded offering. It took a recently forged partnership with Coca-Cola to make this product a reality and now, in early 2017, it’s hitting the shelves.

Given that Dunkin’ Donuts is a mainstream coffee retailer (as opposed to one that tries to be trendy or is a second or third wave player), the three flavors that they have launched with are classics: Original, Mocha, and French Vanilla. The products are full calorie (290 per bottle) and full sugar (45g per bottle), but have a relatively short list of ingredients at their base, including skim milk, sugar, coffee, cream, potassium phosphate, and pectin (the Mocha variety adds cocoa and the French Vanilla variety adds natural flavors). As far as the category goes, they’ve done a nice job of crafting flavors that can stand up to any mainstream offering, including the RTD Starbucks products.

Packaging is a clear 13.7 oz. PET bottle with a mostly clear sleeve label. The Dunkin’ Donuts brand is front and center, which, at least in much of the country, will give the product instant brand equity. From there, the product is straightforward and intuitive, with easy to read copy and an accent color system that’s consistent with what’s used in their retail outlets. While it might not win any packaging awards, there’s nothing holding it back, either.

So where does this product fit in the marketplace? Can it be successful? On the surface, there isn’t anything overly innovative or unique about this product, aside from the equity of the Dunkin’ Donuts brand. And it would seem easy to dismiss this product as something that’s entering the category without a meaningful differentiation.  One could even say that it’s actually battling against the flow of the category’s current innovation trends, which are going more towards premium ideas such as cold brew.

But to do so would really miss the essence of this product. It marries one of the biggest American names in coffee with arguably the best distribution partner and puts forth a really buttoned up mainstream offering. The end result might not be something that drastically moves the needle for the category, but this partnership is sure to steal dollars from other brands in the category, from Starbucks to the various chase packs that have formed.  For the consumers that pick this product up, we think they’ll be pleasantly surprised with what they find inside the bottle. And that, paired with the strength of the brand and what is sure to be immense distribution, gives this product a great shot at being a winner.

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