Sat, Sep 03, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Joint venture ready to introduce chilled coffee at 7-Eleven

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Coffee lovers will soon have no trouble finding a chilled Starbucks beverage, even in the middle of the night, as the US coffee giant is rolling out a range of ready-to-drink products in 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide.

In the first such deal outside its home market, Starbucks Coffee Co and Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業) have formed a joint venture, President Starbucks Coffee Corp (統一星巴克), to sell the Starbucks-branded products in Uni-President's 7-Eleven outlets.

"We hope the new products will help us break into the nation's ready-to-drink coffee market worth NT$6 billion per annum," John Hsu (徐光宇), head of President Starbucks Coffee Corp (統一星巴克), said at a press conference yesterday.

Uni President introduced Starbucks coffee to Taiwan in 1998. The group hopes to make Starbucks the leading brand in the nation's ready-to-drink coffee market by cashing in on the brand awareness and customer loyalty built up over the last seven years, Hsu said.

Served in chilled cup packages, the coffee will come in two flavors -- latte and espresso -- and carry a price tag of NT$45 each. The products are scheduled to make their appearance in the refrigerators of more than 3,800 7-Eleven convenience stores nationwide by the end of the month, according to President Starbucks.

Starbucks is expected to squeeze into the top three brands in Taiwan's ready-to-drink coffee market, which is currently dominated by Wei Chuan Corp's (味全) Banachon series and Uni-President's La Gauche de la Seine series. These two brands have a combined market share of more than 50 percent, President Starbucks' consumer goods development manager Arthur Chang (張志豪) said.

Uni-President has been authorized to produce the Starbucks-labeled chilled coffee, making it the largest manufacturer of ready-to-drink coffee in Taiwan.

According to Starbucks' president of global consumer products, Gerardo Lopez, the US coffee giant is also considering localizing the manufacture of its ice cream products, hinting at further cooperation in future.

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