Starbucks Introduces Light Roast to Stores and Cafes

January 10, 2012 8:53 am

Responding to an extensive study that revealed that 54 million coffee drinkers in the United States prefer a lighter roast for their daily coffee, Starbucks today introduced its “blonde” roast to grocery stores and retail cafes.

From Starbucks:

SEATTLE, Jan 10, 2012  — Starbucks Coffee Company today announced the availability of Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast, a lighter roast coffee from the company known for its signature dark roast, to meet the needs of the 54 million coffee drinkers in the U.S. who say they prefer a lighter roast coffee. Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast will be available as a brewed option in Starbucks stores in the U.S. and is available in packaged coffee in Starbucks stores and where customers buy groceries in the U.S.

Starbucks Introduces blonde roastPerfecting a lighter roast coffee that delivers the great taste and quality customers have come to expect from Starbucks was achieved thanks to 40 years of sourcing, roasting and blending experience and an artful collaboration between Starbucks coffee quality team and roast experts.

“It took eight months and more than 80 different recipe and roast iterations before we landed on the exact flavor profile our customers told us they were looking for,” said Brad Anderson, master roaster for Starbucks. “They told us they wanted a flavorful, lighter-bodied coffee that offers a milder taste and a gentle finish. Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast delivers.”

The mellow and approachable coffee extends Starbucks Roast Spectrum to now include Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast(TM), in addition to the Medium and Dark Roast coffees on which the foundation of the company’s business was built. Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast selections include Starbucks(R) Veranda Blend(TM), Starbucks(R) Willow Blend(TM) and Starbucks(R) Decaf Willow Blend(TM).

To help coffee drinkers determine the coffee taste and intensity they prefer, Starbucks will host “Find the Roast You Love Most” tasting events in the U.S. from Jan. 12-14, at participating stores nationwide. The events will be hosted for three hours each day (times vary by market) and customers will be able to taste Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast alongside Starbucks(R) Medium Roast and Starbucks(R) Dark Roast coffees. Those who put their taste buds to the test will receive a sticker declaring their roast preference, as well as a free sample of Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast to brew at home, or a coupon for $1 off their choice of a pound of any Starbucks(R) coffee or any 8- or 12-pack of Starbucks VIA(R) Ready Brew. Similar tasting events will be held in Canada in early February.

“Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast is our answer to providing a premium lighter roast coffee to appeal to those that describe Starbucks(R) signature roast as too intense,” said Jeff Hansberry, president, Channel Development for Starbucks. “This new roast profile will allow us to increase our share of the brewed coffee market down the grocery aisle where a majority of coffee sales are in the light and medium roast categories. This segment of the market represents a $1 billion opportunity for the company in the U.S. alone.”

New Packaging Makes Finding a Favorite Coffee Easier

Customers spend approximately 60 seconds in the grocery aisle making a decision on what coffee to buy, and approximately 25 percent of shoppers leave the coffee aisle without making a purchase because either they can’t find what they’re looking for, or the premium coffee section doesn’t make sense to them.** Coinciding with the launch of Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast is the introduction of new Starbucks(R) coffee packaging organized by roast — Starbucks(R) Blonde Roast, Starbucks(R) Medium Roast, and Starbucks(R) Dark Roast — to help customers find their favorite Starbucks(R) coffee.

“We know customers are frustrated when it comes to finding the coffee that is right for them,” said Hansberry. “Organizing our coffees by Starbucks(R) Blonde, Medium, and Dark Roast will make it easier for shoppers looking for coffee to find the taste that appeals to them.”

Offering Variety is Important Given Coffee’s Appeal

In a recent study commissioned by Starbucks, 40 percent of coffee drinkers surveyed said they couldn’t live without coffee, even for a week, when compared to a cell phone, romance, sports, and social networking. When asked about their daily routines, 40 percent of coffee drinkers surveyed also ranked coffee over showering.

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