With soda consumption at a 30-year low in the United States, Coca-Cola is setting its sights on another beverage: ready-to-drink coffee.
According to a press release issued last week, Coca-Cola will introduce new ready-to-drink tea lattes and coffees early next year. The products will live under Coca-Cola's Gold Peak brand, which is currently known for bottled iced teas.
Coca-Cola already sells Illy brand coffee drinks in the U.S., but the company is shifting even further toward bottled brews, Business Insider reports. The move seems to be a direct response to a downward trend in soda sales and the continued growth of the read-to-drink tea and coffee sectors. When people do reach for a pick-me-up, coffee-based drinks are beginning to replace soda.
“Twenty years ago, people used to wake up with a Diet Coke or a Diet Pepsi,” said Royal Bank of Canada analyst Nik Modi in June, according to Business Insider. “At around 2 o'clock, they'd have another and take a break. Walk in front of a Starbucks at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and tell me how long the lines are.”
Ready-to-drink coffee is a $2 billion industry, with options like Starbucks' bottled Frappuccinos and Doubleshot espresso drinks stocking shelves. The market is projected to grow to $2.3 billion by 2020. If Coca-Cola can carve out a share in the market, they could help offset their declining soda sales with ready-to-drink coffee sales.
“Our new tea lattes and cold brew iced coffees will feature our signature high quality ingredients and distinct taste for a delicious pick-me-up anytime of the day,” said Geoff Henry, Coca-Cola's vice president for tea and coffee, in a statement.
While you wait for Gold Peak's new coffee beverages to become available, there are plenty of delicious bottled iced coffees to try. Here are our rankings of what's out there, from best to worst. Starbucks Iced Coffee & Milk is currently sitting pretty in first place, so Coca-Cola has its work cut out for it.
Pull up a chair, grab a bottled iced coffee and settle in for the Coca-Cola vs. Starbucks death match we never knew we wanted.
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