McDonald’s McCafe drinks get buzzed to go the retail route
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McDonald’s, whose McCafé gourmet coffee line took direct aim at Starbucks, will follow the coffee giant onto supermarket store shelves early next year.
McDonald’s announced Wednesday that it’s partnering with the Coca-Cola to sell ready-to-drink McCafé Frappé drinks.
The caramel-, vanilla- and mocha-flavored beverages aren’t the fast food chain’s first foray into retail. McCafé whole bean, ground and single-serve coffee are sold in groceries around the United States.
Dunkin Donuts also recently decided to try its luck in supermarkets, convenience stores and big-box retailers. The coffee powerhouse unveiled its own line of bottled, ready-to-drink coffee drinks in February.
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Starbucks first began peddling bottled Frappuccino chilled coffee drinks in 1996.
The ready-to-drink coffee segment is growing. Last year, the category approached 130 million gallons on sales of over $2.8 billion — up from 116 million-plus gallons on sales of more than $2.5 billion in 2015 — according to Beverage Marketing, a consulting and research company.
McDonald’s also unveiled plans to expand the line-up of coffees in its restaurants with three new espressos — Caramel Macchiato, Cappuccino and Americano.
“This is just the start of our McCafé commitment,” Chris Kempczinski, president of McDonald’s USA, said in a statement. “We understand how important the coffee culture is for consumers and we are committed to meeting that demand at the taste, convenience and value only McDonald’s can offer.”
The first McCafé opened in Australia, in 1993. Sixteen years later, the concept made its way to America with the introduction of lattes, cappuccinos and mochas to the classic McDonald’s menu. Blended ice frappés and smoothies, milkshakes and limited-time seasonal offerings have since been added.
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Edward Jones analyst Jack Russo isn’t so convinced bottled drinks will be a hit.
“McCafé is more of a store concept where they’ve emphasized beverages. I don’t know if that would work on a product basis,” he said. “If you ask people to name of McDonald’s coffee products, they probably won’t come up with it.”
Russo sees the appeal of putting ready-made bottled coffees in stores: The profit margins are higher, because unlike in the chain restaurants, there’s no labor costs or food loss.Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer