Industry News | April 5, 2013 | QSR Exclusive Brief

Seattle’s Best Taps Into $4.3B Blended Beverage Industry

Seattle’s Best Coffee, a division of Starbucks Corporation, partnered with food manufacturer Inventure Foods Inc. to launch a first for the coffee industry: a blend-at-home frozen coffee beverage line.

“The blended marketplace is huge and growing; it’s a $4.3 billion category,” says Jennifer Dimaris, vice president of channel brand management for Seattle’s Best Coffee. “We currently have blended beverages in our retail concept, so we worked with Inventure, the partner, to create this [at-home] product that uses our coffee as a base.”

Most coffee quick-service and fast-casual concepts offer blended coffee drinks in-store, and many offer packaged coffees for sell. But Dimaris says there are three specific reasons why Seattle’s Best’s partnership with Inventure Foods was able to offer the first at-home blended beverages for the coffee category.  

“It takes unique manufacturing equipment that Inventure already has; it takes a relationship and knowledge of the frozen aisle, the buyer, and that infrastructure; and then it takes great product development, which we feel we’ve kind of nailed on the head,” she says.

The new frozen blended drinks, which hit stores this month, are made from arabica coffee beans and are available in eight-ounce packages in four flavors: Coffee Chiller, Creamy Caramel, Very Vanilla, and Mega Mocha.

“We have seen those [blended] beverages growing in popularity over the last several years,” Dimaris says. “One of the things we are very excited about is how customizable they are. So now people at home can use soy milk, almond milk, [and] whole milk however they want to prepare it in the convenience of their home.”

The new line will launch in national Target locations and regionally in Safeway, Albertsons, SuperValu, Tops, Publix, Raley’s, Save Mart, and other stores.

“We have had very enthusiastic response from the frozen buyers, and they are very, very excited [for the blended drinks],” Dimaris says.

By Laurel Nakkas