Coffee has always been a popular drink in the United States, but recent years have seen an upswing in gourmet coffee in both retail and foodservice establishments. It's a drink of choice for urbanites nationwide — including those in the coveted 19- to 34-year-old demographic. Yes, those all-important millennials seem to really love their coffee drinks.
Enter ready-to-drink illy®.
Thanks to a joint venture with Italy's famed coffee brand, The Coca-Cola Company offers java fanatics a convenient, delicious, high-quality, "coffee-forward" beverage featuring 100% natural Arabica coffee in convenient 9.5-oz. bottles and 8.4-oz cans. Flavors include Cappuccino (made with low-fat milk), Mochaccino (infused with Domori™ cocoa) and Latte Macchiato (blended with milk).
"When we say 'coffee forward,' it's because these are not watered down, sugary, coffee-based beverages," explains Debbie Bachmann, emerging brands marketing associate for The Coca-Cola Company. "To me, it's like comparing a wine cooler with a fine-vintage bottle of Italian wine. illy is a true Italian espresso that even the most discerning, time-strapped, coffee connoisseur will be able to appreciate and enjoy."
Coca-Cola rolled out illy in 2009 in major U.S. cities, and the beverage became available nationwide last fall. Bachmann says the drink has exceeded initial performance expectations. "We knew we'd do well in major urban areas," she says. "But we've been pleasantly surprised with illy's performance in other areas, such as the Southeast. And although our target consumer was millennials, illy is performing far better than anticipated with older consumer demographics as well."
Building on illy's 80-plus year history, rooted in Trieste, Italy, Bachmann says the beverage line will see significant upgrades in the United States early this fall. "We will introduce a new flavor, Caffe Vanilla Affogato, as well as new packaging. We'll transition from glass containers to new plastic PET containers that will be both resealable and recyclable, and help attract consumers with our 'on-the-go' market positioning."
Bachmann says the ready-to-drink coffee market is showing dramatic national growth, and illy is well-positioned to capitalize on that trend. "illy's growth numbers are three times that of the overall category growth," she says. "So we're already performing extremely well. And our new flavors and packaging will only accelerate that growth this fall."
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