Retailers, consumers and prices
Starbucks will begin testing summer drinks with a base of green, unroasted coffee in San Diego today as it works on new products to drive sales and put more distance between itself and rivals like McDonald’s — which is rolling out the kinds of drinks that Starbucks built its business on.
The drinks, called “Refreshers,” will be offered in cool lime and very berry hibiscus flavors. They are made with fruit and are low in calories and caffeine, said Julie Felss Masino, Starbucks’ vice president of global beverage.
Ingredients include a “flavor neutral” powdered extract made from unroasted green coffee and formulated to have less of a caffeine kick than regular coffee, Felss Masino said.
“It’s coffee that doesn’t taste like coffee,” she said, noting that the test is a response to customer requests for more “overtly” thirst-quenching drinks.
Check out how the McCafe keeps perking up McDonald’s sales.
Last month, Ronald McDonald and company reported a strong first-quarter profit, showing that their bet on taking on Starbucks on its home turf has paid off. And judging from McDonald’s April sales, that McCafe business — with its expanded lower-priced roster of coffees and new frappes — continues to caffeinate its results.
In April, sales at restaurants open at least 13 months (same-store sales, in the industry’s shorthand) were up 3.8 percent stateside, and did even better overseas, for a global average of 4.9 percent.