The Coca-Cola Co. is taking its first stab at being a coffee vendor to convenience stores by extending the Georgia Coffee brand used primarily in Japan into the U.S. market.
The Georgia Coffee offer, currently in test with a couple of small c-store retailers in the United States, is part of Coca-Cola’s growing investment into the foodservice side of the business, Mel Landis, Coca-Cola Refreshments chief customer officer, told CSP Daily News in an exclusive interview.
“If you think about foodservice, anytime you go in and offer a full lineup to your customers, there’s an advantage to doing that,” Landis said. “We’ve got a great fountain offering, whether it’s core fountain or Freestyle. We’ve got a terrific frozen offering with brand Coke and Fanta. We’re moving into smoothies. The one place we haven’t played is brewed. So we think there’s an opportunity to look at brewed.”
The offer, which joins Coca-Cola’s fresh-brewed Gold Peak Iced Tea offer, enables retailers to consolidate their beverage ordering with one provider, according to a Coca-Cola press release. Available in select markets, the program uses a retailer’s existing coffee brewing equipment or a BUNN ITCB digital brewer that produces 64 fluid ounces of fresh-brewed coffee.
“We’re looking for the right accounts,” Landis said. “If you’re a Speedway or 7-Eleven, you have lots of people that want to offer you coffee service. Some of the other retailers—one- to 10-store operators—they may not have that. The best they may have is a coffee program that comes through their wholesaler. We think there could be a huge opportunity to offer full service to them.”
Landis admitted, however, that the new category presents a lot of room for learning, even for the largest beverage company in the world. “We want to be able to do it in a way that’s accretive to the brands we build,” he said. “If it turns into we’re just another commodity player in coffee, it’ll be less interesting.” (Steve Holtz, CSP Daily News: www.cspnet.com)