Tierra Nueva’s Coffee Thins have been available at convenience store chain Wawa and Krispy Kreme donut shops, but its partnership with CVS and Dunkin’ marks the first nationwide availability of the company’s edible coffee product.
“We are going to enable the world to eat their favorite coffee,” Tierra Nueva CEO David Burke told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We think in short order, the category is going to be somewhere between $4bn and $5bn at retail.”
According to Burke, who’s worked in the food industry for 35 years serving as an executive for PepsiCo, Coffee Thins have broad applications across the retail store including placement in the coffee aisle, candy aisle, and at the checkout counter.
Dunkin’ Coffee Thins are now available nationwide at all CVS drug store locations, and is sold individually and in 12-count bags in Dunkin’s original blend and caramel coffee flavors.
Consumers can expect to see Coffee Thins in more national retail locations including grocery.
“I think retailers understand that this is going to be a big category,” Burke added.
“The entry of Tierra Nueva’s Dunkin’-branded Coffee Thins™ into the U.S. retail market is a major milestone for ProspEquity Partners (PEP) and Tierra Nueva that signals the full-scale launch of our global strategy to create a new coffee experience that will drive significant consumer demand and solid returns for our business partners,” commented Christopher D. Ramonetti, managing partner and chief executive officer of PEP and board chairman at Tierra Nueva.
At first glance, Tierra Nueva's Coffee Thins may look like a chocolate square, but Burke emphasized "there is not one speck of chocolate" in its product but 100% coffee. Whole coffee beans are transformed into a "silky, smooth" square that is combined with other natural ingredients.
When asked about the proprietary technology used to make the edible Coffee Thins, Burke stressed that it is not a coffee extract but shared that the process uses 100% of the coffee bean (typical coffee production uses around 20% of the bean) resulting in an intense coffee flavor.
“We can match the taste regardless of who you are as a coffee brand,” he said.
Without revealing exactly how the technology works, Burke did say that the intellectual property Tierra Nueva developed over the course of many years “isn’t done anywhere else in the world” and has wide applications beyond coffee and in other categories including frozen food and bakery.
Will edible coffee catch on?
Coffee consumption behavior has shifted and consumers aren’t just limiting their themselves to the morning hours but at all day long with an emphasis on convenient formats.
According to the National Coffee Association (NCA) 2018 National Coffee Drinking Trends report, the share of people drinking coffee for breakfast has held steady, but coffee consumption between breakfast and lunch increased from 36% of coffee drinkers in 2012 to 41% in 2017. The number of people drinking coffee in the evening increased from 13% in 2012 to 16% in 2017.
Coffee consumption is also at a six-year high with 64% of consumers drinking coffee, the highest level since 2012, NCA reported.
“I think we’ll look back on the first half of this millennia and realize that this when America really first hit its stride on coffee,” Burke commented.
Burke added that Coffee Thins are intended to be a more convenient coffee option and not replacement to drinking coffee.
“I don’t think it will be cannibalistic, I think it will be accretive. What we know from the consumer is they want caffeine throughout the day and we’re available to give you a smooth boost of performance at any time of the day,” Burke added.