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Starbucks Gains Share In Nearly $1B Light Roast Coffee Segment

Starbucks Blonde Roast

Starbucks Coffee Co. aims to grow share of the 40 percent of U.S. coffee drinkers who say they prefer a lighter roast by using an innovative cross-channel campaign to win them over to Starbucks Blonde Roast. Starbucks has already seen significant success since introducing its lighter roast coffee last year, according to a company news release. Starbucks Blonde Roast packaged coffee sales were 79 percent incremental in grocery and 70 percent incremental at Starbucks retail stores, driving growth across all channels in the nearly $1 billion light roast coffee segment.

“Starbucks Blonde Roast is a new roast curve for Starbucks that celebrates our coffee heritage and roasting expertise and introduces new customers to our coffee,” says Craig Russell, SVP of global coffee for Starbucks. “For those who think Starbucks coffee is too dark, we now have an answer. We’re excited about the response we’ve seen over the past year and are looking forward to bringing the taste of our milder, easy-drinking Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee directly to even more consumers nationwide.”

In another sign that the company is reaching out to new customers, Starbucks created Vanilla Blonde, its first handcrafted brewed coffee that features a sweeter taste profile with the addition of vanilla flavored syrup added to its lightest roast. Realizing approximately 80 percent of brewed coffee drinkers add milk or sugar to their coffee, Vanilla Blonde gives brewed coffee drinkers their own customizable option at Starbucks.

Starting today, millions of Americans will have the opportunity to taste Starbucks Blonde Roast and Vanilla Blonde thanks to an extensive cross-channel sampling and sharing campaign featuring millions of offers for a free tall (12 fl. oz.) cup of Starbucks Blonde Roast or Vanilla Blonde and $1 off any Starbucks packaged coffee or Starbucks K-Cup packs in retail stores and where customers buy groceries.

Here are some examples of how Starbucks will engage customers nationwide starting today:

• Customers can get a free tall (12 fl. oz.) Starbucks Blonde coffee for themselves by sharing a Starbucks Card eGift with a friend through a new desktop and mobile-enabled Facebook app accessible at The app features uplifting Light Note cards to share with friends as a fun and humorous way to share a taste of Starbucks Blonde Roast.

• Starbucks Mobile cafés will pop up in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Dallas where, for three weeks each, they will offer free samples of Starbucks Blonde Roast and Vanilla Blonde coffee along with vouchers for a free tall (12 fl. oz.) Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee or Vanilla Blonde and $1 off Starbucks packaged coffee and Starbucks K-Cup packs to passersby.

• A dozen ambassadors donning coffee-filled jet packs also will hit local streets in these cities to share tastes of Blonde Roast coffee with those who can’t make it to the mobile cafés.

• More than 8,000 food, drug and mass grocery retailers will offer Starbucks Blonde Roast to shoppers down the aisle—the biggest sampling effort down the aisle in Starbucks history.


About the author


Kristen Cloud

A former newspaper editor and publisher, she once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, she is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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