The future of soda might be coffee

On January 30th, Keurig Green Mountain, a giant in the coffee industry, acquired Dr. Pepper Snapple—the maker of 7 UP, Hawaiian Punch, and several other popular soft drinks. This buy-out signals a shift in coffee and caffeine culture at large; companies are seeking to turn coffee into an all-day drink rather than just a staple of a morning routine.

This particular acquisition is one of many in the quest to rebrand and reinvent coffee in America. In the past two years, several of the country’s largest coffee chains and beverage-makers have aggressively pushed into new product lines aiming for afternoon and evening consumption. This includes, but is not limited to, Panera, Stumptown, and JAB Holdings, Keurig’s corporate parent.

Though Dr. Pepper seems incongruous in the lineup of trendy and boutique coffee roasters, analysts say that it fits the mold; transforming a morning cup of coffee into a worthy soda alternative is an increasingly popular trend, as it seeks to expand market reach while, seemingly, improving public health. According to James Watson, a Rabobank senior beverage analyst, there are two reasons for this shift.

The first concerns the habits of young people. They are less likely to make their own coffee at home, thus shifting back the hour of the average coffee break. To illustrate, the National Coffee Association found that only 1 in 10 coffee drinkers had a cup at lunch in 2010. The figure rose to 1 in 4 by 2016. Moreover, individuals have begun to turn away from soft drinks for their high sugar content. Watson explained, “We’re seeing these coffee drinks now that actually resemble soda. It’s a way to get into the segment because coffee is natural and healthy and tracks with consumer trends.”


Read the complete, original article at The Chicago Tribune.