Starbucks rolls out VIA Ready Brew to Japan, Canada, UK

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 9th September 2010

Starbucks VIA Ready BrewStarbucks has extended distribution of its instant VIA Ready Brew line to include a total of over 55,000 grocery stores across Japan, Canada and the UK, after successful sales of the instant ‘stick coffee solution’ in Starbucks stores.

Supermarkets such as Walmart, Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury will carry the Starbucks instant coffee sticks.

“We are continuing to drive steady increases in Starbucks VIA distribution — channel by channel, country by country,” Schultz said. “We have set our sights on more international markets, and the pipeline is full of innovations for the Starbucks VIA platform.”

The success of the VIA product line has been noteworthy, with Starbucks reporting that in less than 10 months the product surpassed the significant milestone of $100 million in sales in the US, and SymphonyIRI Group reporting it as among the top 3 percent of all new products with sales well in excess of the $50 million threshold.

The line includes three flavours of Ready Brew – Colombia, Italian Roast and Decaffeinated Italian Roast – as well as an iced coffee stick designed to dissolve in cold water. New flavours are in the works, with the planned launch of Vanilla, Mocha, Caramel and Cinnamon Spice Ready Brew products in the US and Canada.

Starbucks identified Japan and the UK as particular markets for the VIA range, as 80% of  total coffee sold in the UK is instant, and 60% in Japan. Japan’s at-home coffee market drives more than $5 billion in annual sales.

Starbucks describe VIA Ready Brew as the result of 20 years of development, aiming to create “an instant coffee that tastes as good as its fresh filter coffee and is targeted at coffee lovers who want convenience but find conventional instant is falling short of their expectations.”