People who know have told me that the whole K-cup/drink pods thing has really revolutionized the retail coffee business. Consumers like the convenience and variety these machines offer. Now, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR), which makes Keurig machines, is looking to do the same thing with cold beverages. The company took at big step in that direction this week when it announced that Coca-Cola had taken a 10 percent stake and signed a 10-year deal with the soft drink giant to develop products for the upcoming Keurig Cold system release.
"This agreement demonstrates our creative approach to partnerships and ability to identify and stay at the forefront of consumer trends driving the industry," said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, in a statement. "By pairing The Coca-Cola Company's brand leadership and global footprint with GMCR's innovative technology, together we will be able to capitalize on the many exciting growth opportunities in the single-serve, pod-based segment of the cold beverage industry."
Carbonated soft drink sales in retail stores have been challenged in recent years by changing consumer tastes and public education on the health risks associated with the consumption of sugary drinks.
Coca-Cola's deal with GMCR comes as another DIY soda company, SodaStream, has been making a big marketing push here in the U.S. The company gained notice for having its "Sorry, Coke and Pepsi" Super Bowl commercials starring actress Scarlett Johnansson rejected by the Fox Network. The commercial's message was that SodaStream offered better drink options and was more earth-friendly than the soft drink giants.
One purported advantage of Keurig Cold over SodaStream is that it will not require CO2 cylinders for carbonation. Apparently, one of the drawbacks to the current options on the market is that cylinders need to be replaced.
How likely is it that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters will achieve the same type of success with Keurig Cold as it has with hot drinks?