US – Chobani, a leading American company that is known for its Greek yogurts, taken a big step to expand its reach beyond the dairy aisle by entering into the crowded ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee space.
The company in its biggest step yet to grow beyond dairy, has rolled out ready-to-drink cold brew coffees.
The coffees mark a logical extension for the American food company that has made attempts to move beyond Greek yogurt in the last few years with the launch of functional wellness beverages, plant-based oat milk, as well as dairy and plant-based oat creamers.
The new Chobani Coffee is available in 32 ounce cartons in four flavors: Cold Brew Pure Black without sugar or dairy; Cold Brew with Sweet Creamer; Cold Brew with Vanilla Creamer; and Cold Brew with Oat Milk.
The new Chobani coffees are said to contain only natural ingredients, no artificial flavors or sweeteners, and no preservatives and will be made available at grocery and retail stores throughout the united states.
Niel Sandfort, chief innovation officer at Chobani, said the move into coffee was “a natural evolution” after it became familiar with the market through its work with creamers and milks.
“We’re carefully stepping out of this yogurt space,” Sandfort said. “We want to do that iteratively with the consumer. We don’t just want to randomly show up in some distant land and the consumer to lose the logic of what is Chobani doing here.”
As the products hit shelves, Chobani will find itself going up against an increasingly crowded space for ready-to-drink coffee.
It will for instance, find itself up against heavyweights such as Nestlé, PepsiCo and Danone.
Chobani has however made no secret about its broader goal to grow itself into a modern food company and it does not fear going up against bigger rivals.
expressing his confidence, Sandfort said, “We’re used to going up against very large companies in creamers. We don’t lose sleep over that.”
Even with the forays of newer entrants, Starbucks remain far and away the most popular ready-to-drink coffee in the U.S. in 2020, with more than US$117 million in sales, followed by Stok at US$100 million, according to Statista.
The category has however nearly doubled sales from four years ago to $2.6 billion for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 2, according to Nielsen data, with revenue up 17.2% from the prior year.
This is probably the reason why the space has increasingly become attractive to food companies seeking to have their footing on high growth food market segments.
Coca-Cola which distributes Dunkin’s bottled coffee in the U.S. last year announced plans to sell its signature soda blended with the caffeinated beverage in 2021.
Nestlé on the other hand acquired Chameleon Cold-Brew and a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee a few years ago to get a piece of the growing pie.
Finally, Danone has been expanding the reach of its Stok cold-brew coffee it acquired following the $12.5 billion purchase of WhiteWave Foods in 2017.
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