Starbucks and its instant coffee – VIA

Starbucks has started marketing its own brand of coffee – VIA which I find somewhat puzzling.   However, perhaps it is not so surprising that Starbucks wants a bit of the instant coffee action when you consider that about 80% of coffee consumed in this part of the world is instant and that the total instant coffee market generates about $17bn in sales.

The chain hasn’t been faring well over the past year and in January 2009 announced the loss of nearly 7000 jobs plus the closure of 300  more outlets.  According to a great article by Christopher Caldwell in the Financial Times lately, Starbucks is supposed to be a chain of expresso shops but in reality turns out a poor expresso and instead concentrates on producing an array of steamed milky concotions at superior prices.

A sachet of the instant coffee retails for about $1 which is far from cheap.  Christopher Caldwell rightly points out that Starbucks positioned itself in areas with high income, high population and high education but feels that the chain may be challenged in our current economic climate.

On a positive note for Starbucks,  as people find themselves out of work, they need to be cheered up and often end up at the coffee house.  Instant coffee or otherwise, this should be a ray of sunshine for Starbucks in what has been a rather bleak time for this company.  I am still happy that my town still has an array of private coffee shops rather than endless chains.

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2 Responses to “Starbucks and its instant coffee – VIA”

  1. stillhere4u Says:

    I am concerned about Starbuck’s strong-arm tactics and the scripted “conversations” used on customers to sell the new product. They show a rather sad view of the customer (as well as other people). I strongly recommend the following blog’s post: http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/starbucks/

    • kilbrogan Says:

      Thanks very much for your feedback. I would not be a bit surprised if Starbucks used such strong arm tactics as you refer to. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Luckily in Bandon all our coffee shops are privately run and most provide papers free of charge for their customers use while enjoying the coffee. Strong arm tactics don’t work so well in small places where word of mouth can be devastating – Unfortunately this doesn’t apply in cities where the Starbucks outlets are based.

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