“Millennials and Gen Z-ers under 30 are two times more likely to drink cold coffee,” Rosalind Brewer, Starbucks COO said during a recent Investor Day event. According to the company’s own stats, it’s traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte was not its No. 1 seller during fall 2020. The top spot went to the Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew. Now, Starbucks is going all-in on the oat milk craze as well. It seems the company has found a literal recipe for success. So, what can the rest of us learn from this shift in the coffee industry? One of the big takeaways is the fact that Starbucks keeps its ear to the ground. It doesn’t just follow trends — the company listens to its customers and works to meet their needs. It’s something Starbucks has done for decades. When customers were looking for a dairy alternative in the 1990s, Starbucks added soy milk to the menu (1997). Years later, customers wanted alternatives to soy milk, so coconut milk (2015) and almond milk (2016) became options. Starbucks is willing to develop and offer products customers want. There’s a reason why the coffee chain is so popular — and it’s not just because millions of people need their coffee fix every day. It’s because those millions of people can get the exact drink they want at Starbucks. And the chain keeps giving them more to choose from. The company does it because it knows that listening to the customers will drive growth. At a recent Investor Day, Starbucks said it expected a per-share growth of at least 20% going into their 2022 fiscal year. This projection came at the same time the company’s shares hit an all-time high. This approach to meeting customer needs works, just as it works for countless other businesses. And yes, it can work for you, too. –Shaun
O at milk is the dairy-free milk alternative of 2021. Millennials and Generation A (aka zoomers or Gen Z) can’t get enough. Over the past couple years, oat milk has skyrocketed in popularity among people under 40. It’s become the second most popular dairy alternative, just behind almond milk. Why? People like the taste, it’s relatively healthy, and it pairs well with coffee. These are all factors that the world’s biggest coffee chain took notice of. In early 2020, Starbucks introduced the Honey Oatmilk Latte. It's much- anticipated release in January 2020 was all food blogs could talk about. It was even making mainstream headlines. People couldn’t get enough of it. In reality, it was a simple drink: blonde espresso with a little honey, steamed oat milk, and toasted honey sprinkled on top to tie it together. The Honey Oatmilk Latte was something of a test for Starbucks. It was only available in select regions for most of 2020. The company wanted to Starbucks Heats Up With Cold Drinks Giving Customers What They Want
see how consumers would respond. Needless to say, it was a huge hit. But it was most popular with younger consumers, as expected. It was even a hit with Starbucks’ biggest rival, Dunkin’, which also tested oat milk beverages in 2020. In spring 2021, over a year after the introduction of the Honey Oatmilk Latte, Starbucks will release another beverage expected to be a hit with millennials and zoomers. It will be expanding its cold- beverage offerings with the oat milk- infused shaken iced espresso. The Honey Oatmilk Latte was marketed as a hot drink. The shaken iced espresso is a mix of espresso, brown sugar, and oat milk that's shaken and poured over ice. Starbucks says the launch of the Honey Oatmilk Latte, which goes wide this year along with the shaken iced espresso, is aimed at addressing a generational shift in consumer tastes while also addressing the needs of those who are more health- conscious — a segment that represents 26% of the company’s customers.
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