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60-second interview, Kristen Mercure, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters: Keurig owners told us they used their brewer’s hot water to make soup, but it didn't hit the spot

11-Sep-2013

GMCR: 'Keurig brewer owners showed us that they used their brewer’s hot water to make their own soups, but it was never as convenient or tasted as good as they wanted'
GMCR: 'Keurig brewer owners showed us that they used their brewer’s hot water to make their own soups, but it was never as convenient or tasted as good as they wanted'

The recent growth of the single serve coffee market has been nothing short of meteoric. But is 'fresh-brewed' soup a bridge too far, or could Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (GMCR) and partner Campbell Soup have stumbled upon CPG gold?

Elaine Watson caught up with Kristen Mercure, senior corporate communications specialist at GMCR - which notched up volume growth of 21% for its single serve packs of coffee and tea in the last quarter - to find out...

When did GMCR first start talking to Campbell Soup about putting soup in a K-Cup?

The partnership has been in the works for some time, but has really started gaining momentum in the past six months. 

What makes you think 'brewed soup' will be a hit with consumers? 

Significant research and development efforts and consumer testing led us to Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup K-Cup packs. Keurig brewer owners showed us that they use their brewer’s hot water to make their own soups, but it was never as convenient or tasted as good as they wanted.  Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup K-Cup packs resolve this.

Campbell Soup’s new ‘fresh-brewed’ soup, which hits shelves in 2014, will come with a small packet of dried noodles and veg that go in your cup first. The K-Cup contains the powdered broth, which will be made by the Keurig machine and poured over the noodles and veg

We know that 84% of Keurig brewer buyers eat Campbell’s soup, and we want to give them new ways to enjoy it. 

Research showed us that consumers are looking for quick, delicious, and fresh snacks in their day and soup is a category where we are able to bring the benefits and attributes consumers have come to love about the Keurig system – quality, choice, convenience and freshness.  

This is a new way for consumers to enjoy Campbell’s delicious taste as a snack, with the ultra-convenience of the single cup brewing system.

What else are you looking at beyond soup that could work in a K-cup? 

According to GMCR, 16 million US households will have a Keurig machine installed by the end of the fiscal year

We’re looking into categories that profit from the benefits and attributes consumers have come to love about Keurig: quality, choice, convenience, and freshness. We have a number of potential growth categories in consideration for our Keurig system, but none that we’ll be sharing other than soup today. 

When will the new commercial grade Keurig Bolt machines and packs (which can brew a 64 oz. pot of coffee in two minutes) be available?

Keurig Bolt brewer will be available throughout the US and Canada through limited Keurig Authorized Distributors beginning in late fall 2013. 

What is the benefit for an unlicensed player to team up with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters?

There are two key benefits to being a licensed partner in our Keurig beverage system:

The Keurig Bolt machine - launching this fall - can brew a 64 oz. pot of coffee in about two minutes, says GMCR

The first is better and more consistent quality. The most recent brand study of consumer trial and repeat rates by IRI shows the top 10 brands for repeat in the Keurig beverage system are all GMCR-owned, licensed or partner brands.

In fact, the highest repeat rate in the Keurig system continues to belong to the Green Mountain Coffee brand.  Because we design the entire system: the appliance, the portion pack, the roast and grinding process and the manufacturing lines that make the portion packs, the quality, taste and safety of every cup brewed is assured for our owned and licensed packs.  Partners like Starbucks, Smuckers, Unilever, ConAgra, Tata, Dunkin Donuts, and now Campbell recognize the quality benefits of being a licensed partner in our system. 

A perfect example of the fact that shoppers are willing to pay a premium for quality and convenience - even in tough times - the growth of the single serve coffee market has been nothing short of meteoric, growing from $1bn in 2011 to more than $1.8bn in 2012, an 80%+ increase.

The second major benefit is that partners participate in our powerful innovation stream going forward.  Each of the partners above has and will continue to benefit as we bring differentiated features and functionality to our portfolio.

Does GMCR supply private label pods for retailers?

We are currently in discussions with select large customers who have private label or store brands that we would also welcome into our system.

Click here to read what marketing and branding experts have to say about brewed soup in a K-Cup.

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