Inspired by the passion of baristas, a growing café culture, and consumer interests, Coca-Cola South Pacific introduced Barista Bros® in Australia in 2014. The iced-coffee disrupted the market’s flavored milk category with its high-quality, unique offering and relevant marketing strategy – and has experienced sustained market share growth from 1.6 percent in 2014 to 5.1 percent in 2017.
“As consumers began seeking more nourishing drinks, such as dairy, flavored milk gained momentum, particularly coffee-based products that also provided ‘pick-me-up’ benefits. We saw an opportunity and created Barista Bros, which continues to evolve to meet consumer needs,” explained Amruta Vaidya, Marketing Manager, Value Added Dairy, Coca-Cola South Pacific. “From a brand and marketing perspective, we also noticed even though the dairy category was indeed growing, most products focused on sustenance and energy benefits for younger males, presenting an opening for a product with broad male and female relevance. That was an in for us.”
Barista Bros connects with coffee lovers who expect more than flavored milk, as it is made with 100 percent Brazilian Arabica beans, which deliver a superior taste compared to the more commonly found Robusta bean-based iced coffees in the Australian market.
Vaidya shared, “We worked hard to utilize new R&D technology, bringing to market the Coca-Cola system’s very first neutral-acidity, aseptic dairy beverage, and leveraged our global strength in coffee, to drive a competitive advantage. Consumers consider Barista Bros a more authentic coffee experience to traditional flavored milk and enjoy the real coffee flavor.”
In 2017, Barista Bros was the fastest growing flavored milk brand in the convenience and petrol channel, and had achieved over 21 percent brand value growth versus 7.7 percent category value growth in the grocery channel, and accelerated overall brand awareness by more than 8 points to 52 percent.
Vaidya and her team’s successful, disciplined growth of the iced-coffee product earned her a Coca-Cola Global Innovation Award in the Innovation Success category.
The Barista Bros team remains focused on continuous improvement to ensure consumer-centric product development. After the initial product launch, in 2015 chocolate was added, winning the second highest market share. In 2016, double espresso was incorporated, followed by mocha in 2017 to recruit younger fans and then café-inspired flavors in 2018 to infuse further growth.
Barista Bros expanded to New Zealand in 2016 and Mexico in 2017, with expansions identified for ASEAN. These expansions support The Coca-Cola Company’s “lift and shift” approach, which encourages teams to “lift” successful brands from one market and “shift” them to another, targeting similar success.